Rams trample Indians in Battle of 72 win


JAMESTOWN — Greeneview wasn’t ready to relinquish its crown.

Greeneview won its third straight Ohio Heritage Conference division championship and dominated rival Cedarville to take the Battle of 72 Friday. The 22-0 final score made it 10 straight victories in the rivalry for the Rams.

“It was on brand for us,” Greeneview head coach Ryan Haines said. “I mean the conditions were soft, but we’ve got to make sure we’re mentally tough enough to handle those. … It’s a big game for all of them because they love each other and they’ve been working all year long.”

Cedarville would have earned a share of the title for the first time ever had it won, but the Rams made it 15 straight division wins to go unbeaten against the South for the third year in a row.

Greeneview’s defense was impenetrable, holding Cedarville to a season-low in offensive yards and producing the fourth shut out in the last six games.

Three big plays in the first half provided all the offense needed for the Rams.

Chase Walker got things started on the opening drive of the game. Breaking several tackles, Walker kept his balance to get behind the defense and cap off an eight-play drive with a 48-yard run to make the score 7-0 early.

After two more drives of moving the ball but stalling out, Greeneview (7-3, 5-0) hit pay dirt again with Cooper Payton went around the left end and got the edge. 79 yards later Greeneview went up 15-0 after mishandling the point after attempt but recovering to throw a successful two-point conversion.

Cedarville had a chance to seize some momentum back before halftime but a deep pass attempt couldn’t be handled. Greeneview forced a punt a play later and seemingly put the game away right after.

Alex Horney took advantage of another big hole created by his line on a quarterback keeper and ran 74 yards untouched for another big play with 1:28 left in the first half.

Walker, Payton and Horney combined to run for 281 yards on 24 carries in the first half. Cedarville had 36 total yards on 21 plays as a team.

“I feel like we just got three special guys in the backfield between Alex, Chase and Cooper,” Haines said. “I mean they each hit home runs today that was the difference in the ball game. They all flip around and go play defense and fly around the ball too. They’re just highly competitive kids and they play hard for each other. They’ve been doing that since they were in the second grade.”

Walker ended the game with a team-high 156 yards, while Horney had 114 and Payton rushed for 99.

Cedarville (7-3, 3-2) only had one first down through three quarters and went three-and-out on five of its first seven possessions.

Jackson Pyles took control of the offense with Colt Coffey limited and only having one carry. Pyles had a season-high 48 yards rushing, but was held to a season-low 90 yards passing after starting the game with incompletions on nine of his first 10 attempts.

Haines said he felt the performance by his team encapsulated the way his team handles itself in preparation not just during previous weeks, but before the season even begins.

“I know how hard our coaches were going not just in weeks one through 10, but all offseason,” Haines said. “The OHSAA tells us we have to take those mandated, no contact periods, but our kids live in the weight room.”

Both Cedarville and Greeneview will have their seasons extended into the postseason.

Cedarville was able to get a home game thanks for a loss by Fort Loramie on Saturday. The Indians will be the 8-seed in Division VII, Region 28 and will host Sidney Lehman Catholic on Friday.

Greeneview wasn’t guaranteed a spot even with a win, but ended up easily qualifying for the ninth time in 10 seasons. The Rams got the 10-seed in D-V, R20 and will play on the road Friday when they face league foe Northeastern.

“We knew we had a pretty good shot, a lot of things would have had to be against us for us not to get in right?” Haines said. “Whether it’s 16 teams or eight teams like it used to be, it’s a special thing making the playoffs. These kids earn their postseason opportunity. The state guarantees 10 games, but our kids go earn week 11. So now we’re into the bonus games and we’ll have some fun.”

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on X (formerly Twitter) @Steven_Wright_.

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