The Greeneview High School football team is back in the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
The Rams’ streak began when the current senior class was in eighth grade.
“Playoffs is all they know,” Rams coach Ryan Haines said. “All they know is Week 11. It’s a testament to them, to their work ethic and a testament to my coaching staff for getting them prepared.”
To earn that mark, the Rams will have to win its first road playoff game since 2016. Greeneview (9-1) will travel to Cincinnati Madeira (7-3) for a Division V, Region 20 quality playoff game at 7 p.m. Saturday night.
“It’s always good to get to Week 11,” Haines said. “It’s a special thing in the state of Ohio. You’ve got to earn that and our kids have done so. I’m extremely proud of them.”
The Rams have won six straight games since falling to Mechanicsburg 7-0 on Sept. 14.
“We had to turn the page after a tough loss,” Haines said. “We got more gritty as the year went on, getting the opportunity to play against some much improved teams in the OHC South. It’s prepared us for Week 11. We’re excited to keep the winning streak going.”
At this point, however, that’s all in the rearview mirror, Haines said.
“I’m done saying ‘Congratulations on winning the OHC,’ and I’m done saying ‘Congrats on making the playoffs,’” Haines said. “It’s time to get back to business. It’s time to get back to practice, get things rolling and earn a Week 12.”
Madeira (7-3) finished third in the Cincinnati Hills League behind D-IV playoff qualifiers Cin. Wyoming (10-0) and Cin. Indian Hill (8-2). The Mustangs beat Deer Park, a D-VI playoff qualifier, 31-28 in Week 8.
Madeira is led by senior quarterback Tyler Richmond, who has thrown for 1,561 yards and nine touchdowns. The Mustangs’ leading rusher is junior Johnathan Thiele (771 yards, 13 TDs), who has rushed for 140 yards and 158 in back-to-backs wins over Finneytown and Taylor to finish the season.
The Mustangs have intercepted 19 passes, including eight by Lee Megois and five by Nicholas Groene.
“They’re going to hawk the ball on the back end and they’re going to get after you on their defensive line,” Haines said. “They’re a really sound, well-coached football team.”
The key to the game for the Rams will be controlling the offensive line, he said. The Mustangs have a strong defensive line that can wreak havoc.
Junior Clay Payton has rushed for 1,015 yards and 15 TDs this season. Senior QB Nick Clevenger is a dual threat for the Rams, passing for 1,060 yards and 11 TDs and rushing for 908 yards and 11 TDs.
“We make no bones about it, we’re a running team,” Haines said. “That’s my mentality and that’s our kids’ mentality. We want to run the ball downhill. We’ve got to keep those long defensive ends and defensive tackles blocked.”
Defensively, the Rams will have to find ways to get the Mustangs into long down-and-distance situations, Haines said.
“They stay on schedule and they’re very efficient in what they do,” he said.
With two more victories, the Rams 2019 senior class can become the winningest class in program history with 38 wins – beating out their former teammates, the class of 2018.
Greeneview’s last road playoff win came against Carlisle in 2016. Haines expects a big group of supporters in Madeira this week, rain or shine.
“The community has been great,” Haines said. “They’ll rally behind us.”