Dalton Matney from Johnson Central is an apple which didn’t fall far from its tree… @dalton_matney21 @JCAthletics_ @840WHAS @minguabeefjerky @1776Bank @KyHighFootball

Dalton Matney, No. 21

’26 LB also 4X Adidas Wrestling National Champion

Dalton Matney is a 6’0,” 190-pound LB who doubles as a national championship high school wrestler. He has a 4.0 GPA on top of all of it. The son of one of the all-time KHSAA head football coaches, Matney has found ways to make us clearly see that this is one apple which didn’t fall far from the tree.

HB Lyon, Scouting Director, KPGFootball

In 1839, a guy named Ralph Waldo Emerson taught us that, in regards to family [and passing athletic traits from generation to generation], it is often true that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” We don’t know if he came up with this jewel while still a Unitarian minister or whether he had left the ministry to become among America’s best known writers and public speakers.

The proverb likely didn’t originate with Emerson. Versions of this proverb can also be found earlier in works written in German and Russian; with some sources saying the expression originates in Asia.

Regardless, it is a proverb proven true, over and over. I thought of this proverb while watching Larry Bird’s grandson, a ’27 basketball prospect, eat up gymnasiums all over the internet.

The kid is unbelievable. The kid carries the “Bird” bloodline. What, exactly, were you expecting?

Dalton Matney knows something of expectations fostered owing to familial bonds. Dalton is the son of the late, great Jim Matney.

Jim Matney was a famous Kentucky football coach…a friend to this author, this publication, and very supportive of [our] work…

Friday Night Fletch

Jim Matney was a famous Kentucky football coach who met with immeasurable career success. He was a friend to this author, this publication, and very supportive of the work we were doing and continue to do.

The late, great Jim Matney

Jim Matney turned Johnson Central High into a Kentucky power from a team which had gone 5-24 from 2001-2003, the three years immediately preceding his arrival. Matney, in 18-seasons at the helm, went 186-39, winning state championships in 2016 and 2019, and playing for the 4A title five straight seasons (2015-19).

Matney’s career mark finished at 310-133. At the time of his passing, Jim Matney was one of only a dozen or so coaches in KHSAA history to have won over 300-games.

That is a hard act to follow for any son. Dalton both has and continues to embrace every opportunity and challenge to live up to the Matney legacy.

Dalton Matney (hereafter, just “Matney”), had a big sophomore season for a team which finished 9-4 in 4A and lost the Regional Championship game to Covington Catholic. Matney tallied 61-tackles, six (6) TFLs, and two (2) QB-sacks.

We have been focusing on versatility this offseason. Matney may be the poster child for this, where defined by starring in more than one varsity sport.

[Dalton] Matney may be the poster child for [versatility], where defined by starring in more than one varsity sport…

Friday Night Fletch

Matney is a championship wrestler, competing and always in contention for the Kentucky title in his weight class, and having before won 4-national Adidas titles. Matney is six-foot tall and weighs around 190-pounds. He is a literal muscled up ball of explosion, strength, and power.

He is one more thing we have come to learn quite important when discussing athletes. He’s a “Matney,” and certainly one apple which did fall very far from its tree.

This is Friday Night Fletch, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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About Fletcher Long 1534 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

1 Comment

  1. Great article. I’m sure Coach Matney’s son has the same fire he had. Always considered Jim my friend when he was at Sheldon Clark. We had a great game at Gilbert and he then kicked out butts at Sheldon Clark. He always had my respect and I admired his program. I hope his son does well. Coach Gordon Carter, former Head Coach, Gilbert High School, Gilbert, WV.

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