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Dayton off to 3-0 start for first time since 1996; Greendevils play at Trimble County on Friday

By Don Owen
NKyTribune sports editor

Jesse Herbst was an assistant coach at Dayton High School the last time the Greendevils started off the football season with three consecutive wins.

That was in 1996, when Dayton opened the campaign with a 4-0 record.

Fast-forward 24 years and Herbst is now the head coach at Dayton. And the Greendevils are again off to a 3-0 start after cruising to a 30-8 win over Bracken County on Friday night. Dayton built a 22-0 halftime lead and took advantage of three Bracken County turnovers to remain perfect this fall.

Senior running back James “Trey” Matthews (33) is a key member of the Dayton offense. (Photo from Hudl)

Trey Matthews rushed for 77 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Dayton ground attack. His second scoring run extended the Greendevil advantage to 30-0 late in the third quarter. Matthews’ performance helped Dayton overcome the loss of star running back Jordan Marksberry, who suffered a season-ending knee injury the previous week.

Marksberry had rushed for a team-leading 267 yards and four touchdowns during the opening two games. He will have ACL reconstruction surgery this week on his right knee.

Dayton quarterback Nolan Brooks added 56 yards on seven carries, and he passed for 38 yards and a touchdown. Braiden Comstock, Eric Jimenez and Isaiah Lovins combined for 11 solo tackles and 12 assisted tackles to lead the Greendevil defense.

Dayton will attempt to match the 1996 team’s 4-0 start this Friday by traveling to Trimble County for a 7:30 p.m. contest. Trimble County enters that contest with a 1-2 record after losing at Lexington Sayre 40-0 on Friday.

Herbst noted the 1996 Dayton team, coached by Dan Ridder, posted a 10-3 overall record. The Greendevils advanced to the Class A regional finals that season and lost to eventual state champion Beechwood.

A year ago, Dayton finished with a 4-7 record. That was marked improvement from the previous two seasons, when the Greendevils were a combined 1-19.

NEWBORN SHINES IN LUDLOW DEFEAT: Ludlow’s Braxton Newborn rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns against Nicholas County, but the Panthers were unable to stop the unbeaten Bluejackets during a 38-16 loss on Friday night. Nicholas County finished with 334 yards on the ground and improved to 3-0.

Newborn has rushed for 586 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Ludlow is 1-2 and will play at Lloyd this Friday at 7 p.m.

NEWCATH RETAINS BRAGGING RIGHTS: Defense ruled the field Friday night as Newport Central Catholic and Newport battled for the Firefighter’s Bell traveling trophy that goes to the winning team.

NewCath allowed Newport just 112 yards of total offense and pulled out a 17-14 victory. The Thoroughbreds improved to 3-0 and defeated their city rival for the 23rd consecutive time.

Newport’s James Martin (6) looks for an opening against NewCath on Friday. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Newport’s last win against NewCath was on Aug. 27, 1999, when the Wildcats rolled to a 42-0 victory against the Thoroughbreds.

NewCath, playing without injured running back Jahmir Ackerson, gained 147 yards on the ground. Buddy Atkins led the Thoroughbreds with 53 rushing yards — 33 of those one one carry — while Malaki Herndon added 50 yards on 10 carries.

James Martin led Newport with 46 yards on 17 carries. He also scored a touchdown for the Wildcats, who fumbled the ball six times and lost three of those miscues.

LLOYD RUSHES TO VICTORY: Six players rushed for touchdowns during Lloyd’s 54-0 win over Bellevue on Friday. Quinton Jones gained 118 yards on just five carries to lead the Juggernauts in their season opener.

BOYLE COUNTY, JOHNSON CENTRAL IMPRESSIVE: Boyle County and Johnson Central gave powerful demonstrations of why they are two of the premier football programs in Kentucky on Friday night.

Boyle County rolled to a 46-7 win at Highlands, while Johnson Central defeated Simon Kenton by a 47-17 score at Independence. Boyle County is now 3-0 this season, and Highlands dropped to 1-2. The Rebels built a 25-0 lead in the second quarter and romped past the Bluebirds. Boyle County held Highland to just 93 yards of total offense.

Johnson Central, the defending Class 4A state champion, improved to 2-0 and handed Simon Kenton (2-1) its first loss of the season. The Golden Eagles finished with 491 yards on the ground, led by Dillon Preston’s 153 yards. Mason Lawson added 124 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns.

Simon Kenton quarterback Chase Crone was 14–of-32 passing for 124 yards and a touchdown. Jayden Lawson gained 46 yards on the ground for the Pioneers.

NewCath defenders Preston Baggett (84) and Christopher Gavin (65) bring down Newport quarterback Ethan Jefferson for a loss on Friday night. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Don Owen is sports editor of the Northern Kentucky Tribune. Contact him at don@nkytrib.com and follow him on Twitter at @dontribunesport.

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