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Season openers will be homecoming games for two high school football coaches back with former teams

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Homecoming football games are usually scheduled later in the fall, but two Northern Kentucky season openers on Friday involve coaches coming home to their former teams.

Boone County coach Bryson Warner and Dayton coach Jesse Herbst were hired during the offseason to coach the teams they once played on. They each got the job to bring new life to a struggling program and the first test comes Friday.

Bryson Warner

Boone County will open the 2019 season at home against Holmes and Dayton will play Brossart at Campbell County Middle School. Kickoff for both games is set for 7 p.m.

Warner, a former all-state linebacker for Boone County, is taking charge of a Rebels’ program that won only four games over the last four seasons. The team leaders in every statistical category last season graduated, so the new coach is counting on 20 seniors to get the program headed in a new direction.

“Losing stops now, that’s over with,” Warner said in a preseason interview. “We are getting back to what Boone County football is, and that is winning.”

Warner returns to Boone County after spending the last two years as an assistant coach at Covington Catholic. The Colonels won the Class 5A state championship in 2017 and lost in the state final last year.

Jesse Herbst

Herbst was an assistant coach at Simon Kenton, a program with a 76.7 winning percentage over the last nine years. He left there to become head coach of a Dayton team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2007.

Last year, the Greendevils finished 0-9 and had to forfeit their last three games because they didn’t have enough players ready to compete on the varsity level. This year’s roster that Herbst posted online has 32 players — four seniors, 12 juniors, nine sophomores and seven freshmen.

“We keep telling our players to keep moving forward,” said Herbst, a 1990 Dayton graduate. “We aren’t looking at the past. We are looking forward to now and the future.”

The other local high school teams that will open the 2019 season on Friday with new head coaches are Bellevue (Cie Cie Wood), Scott (Eric Turner) and Lloyd (Kyle Niederman).

Wood is a former Bellevue player who has been with the program the last seven years as an assistant under three different head coaches. Turner resigned as Lloyd’s head coach to take charge of the Scott program. Lloyd replaced him with Niederman, who is entering his second year as the school’s vice principal.

High school football schedule

Friday’s games
Holy Cross vs. Bellevue at Thomas More, 7 p.m.
Dayton vs. Brossart at Campbell County Middle School, 7 p.m.
Holmes at Boone County, 7 p.m.
Newport Central Catholic at Campbell County, 7 p.m.
Dixie Heights at Cooper, 7:30 p.m.
Ryle at Covington Catholic, 7 p.m.
Highlands at Scott, 7 p.m.
Lloyd at Walton-Verona, 7:30 p.m.
Ludlow at Carroll County, 7 p.m.
Newport at Harrison County, 7:30 p.m.
Simon Kenton vs. Henry Clay at Lexington Lafayette, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday’s game
Conner at Madison Central, 8 p.m.

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