Soaked and muddied from head to toe, Caleb Coe broke into a wide, satisfied grin.
Despite a relentless downpour, the Cedarville High School running back lingered outside with fans — eager to celebrate the best day of his three-year prep football career.
“This is definitely the biggest game we’ve ever played in,” Coe said. “We haven’t won in awhile, but we’re changing things around here now. It’s been a lot of fun with all this rain. We’ve had a blast.”
The hard-luck Indians haven’t enjoyed a winning season since their 2001 playoff team, but they’re 4-0 now.
Sparked by a 1-yard touchdown plunge from senior quarterback Hudson Grant with four minutes remaining in the opening quarter, host Cedarville held on for a 12-0 Ohio Heritage Conference win over rival Greeneview.
“Our defense is great — and our (offensive) guys are really good up front,” Coe said. “I knew after we got that first touchdown in there that we had ‘em.”
Cedarville backs carried 63 times for all but 10 of their 231 total yards, controlling both the tempo and the clock.
“We like playing in these conditions. It fits us,” said Coe, a junior three-year letterman.
Coe’s 29 hauls accounted for a game-best 134 yards, but it wasn’t until his 4-yard TD plunge with 37 seconds left that the Cedarville faithful dared celebrate.
“We knew we had to get that (second) one in there to really have a chance to win,” said Coe, whose TD run came three plays after the Indians took over on downs at 1:34 on Greeneview’s 11-yard line.
“(Chance) Frye is a great quarterback, and they’ve made some great comebacks. Our line made the hole. I got the easy job. I just had to run through.”
Grant’s third-and-goal quarterback keeper capped a 10-play, 45-yard, first-quarter drive that took early pressure off the Indians, despite a fumbled extra-point snap.
They held on to their 6-0 halftime lead despite losing a pair of second-quarter fumbles – the first at 6:11 on their own 31 and the second at 4:21 on their own 20.
“We’ve got 10 seniors who’ve all totally sold out to the game of football and to Cedarville,” Coe added. “We’ve had some rough years. Not having a winning season in so long – this win is just huge.”
Greeneview had one final, first-half shot to tie after recovering Cedarville’s second fumble.
The Rams ran nine plays but advanced just four yards to the 16 before Frye’s pass was intercepted by Grant on the Indians’ 10 with 37 seconds left.
With the win, the Indians should improve upon their third-place ranking in the Division VII, Region 26 computer points. The Rams, ranked fifth in D-V, Region 18, dipped to 3-1.
Greeneview had captured this heated, small-school rivalry each of the last two years, winning 14-0 in 2011 and 23-8 last fall.
But hampered by wet conditions, Frye completed just 7 of 23 passes for 68 yards and an interception. The Rams were outgained in total yardage, 231 to 128.