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2019 Prep Football Previews: New coach making headway in changing direction of Dayton program

The NKyTribune is featuring each of the 21 high school football teams in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties leading up to the first games of the 2019 season on Aug. 23. We will then provide focused coverage of our local teams throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.

By Quinton Marksberry
NKyTribune contributor

Jesse Herbst returned to his football roots as head coach of the Dayton Greendevils to bring new life to a Class 1A program that’s been through some tough times.

Herbst graduated from Dayton in 1990 and taught there after graduating from college. He spent the past 15 years as a teacher and assistant football coach at Simon Kenton, one of the area’s most  successful programs.

Caulyn Asher is one of four seniors on the Dayton roster.

Now he’s in charge of a Dayton team that hasn’t posted a winning season since 2007. Last year, the Greendevils finished 0-9 and had to forfeit the last three games because they didn’t have enough varsity level players.

Herbst said he has 30 players on the pre-season practice roster and the first-year head coach is already making some headway with the program.

“Personally, I feel that the culture of the team has been turned in the right direction,” said Caulyn Asher, one of four seniors on the roster. “Coach is very enthusiastic and is hands on with everyone on the team.”

Herbst is trying to light a F.I.R.E. with his Dayton players. The four letters stand for Family, Integrity, Relentlessness and Energy. Those aren’t the only words of motivation he’s using to create a positive mindset.

“No, this is not a rebuild year. We are continuing the process of winning football games,” Herbst said.

“We keep telling our players to keep moving forward. We aren’t looking at the past. We are looking forward to now and the future.”

After missing the last two seasons because of injuries, Asher is excited to be back on the practice field for his senior year with all of his teammates and their positive new coach.

Jesse Herbst

“The man is always smiling and carrying himself as if nothing can bring him down,” Asher said of Herbst.

Like every small-school football team, Dayton will have several two-way starters. Asher will be playing linebacker or defensive back in different defensive situations. On offense, he’ll be lining up at wide receiver or tight end.

Underclassmen will fill most of the team’s starting positions. No one knows how the season will turn out. Injuries played a role in last year’s forfeits. But the Greendevils plan to be back in action for the 2019 season opener on Aug. 23 at Brossart.

“Of course, with our size we only have four seniors,” Herbst said. “But I have told this to all the other young guys, to step up and become the leaders I know they can be.”

Dayton’s young team will play six games before facing district rivals Bellevue, Ludlow and Newport Central Catholic, which moved down to Class 1A in a statewide realignment. The Greendevils will actually play Bellevue twice, continuing one of the oldest rivalries in Kentucky high school football.

2018 SEASON:  0-9 record, did not qualify for Class 1A playoffs.
DISTRICT:  Class 1A, District 4 with Bellevue, Ludlow, Newport Central Catholic.
HEAD COACH:  Jesse Herbst (First season as head coach).

Aug. 23 – at Brossart, 7 p.m.
Aug. 30 – at Bellevue, 7 p.m..
Sept. 13 – GALLATIN COUNTY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 – PENDLETON COUNTY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 – at Bracken County, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 – BEREA, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 – BELLEVUE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 – at Newport Central Catholic, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 – LUDLOW, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 – at Carroll County, 7:30 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:



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