High School Football: Rams to face defending state champ Wheelersburg

Greeneview’s Nick Clevenger (shown here vs. Coldwater in 2016 playoff game) rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 31-28 win over Cincinnati Madeira. FILE PHOTO
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Greeneview’s Nick Clevenger (shown here vs. Coldwater in 2016 playoff game) rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 31-28 win over Cincinnati Madeira. FILE PHOTO

For fourth time in five seasons, the Greeneview High School football team has earned its place as one top 16 teams in Division V.

Next up for the Rams is the defending state champion Wheelersburg.

Greeneview (10-1) will meet the Pirates (10-1) in a Division V, Region 20 semifinal game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Chillicothe’s Herrnstein Field.

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“Our kids are sick and tired of stubbing their toe in the second round,” said Rams coach Ryan Haines. “They know the longer you survive what means in Ohio, the teams are going to continue to get better and better and better.”

The winner will play either Middletown Madison (11-0) or Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy in Week 13 at a site to be determined.

The Rams have won seven straight games since falling to Mechanicsburg 7-0 in Week 4. They beat Madeira 31-28 on the road last week to advance to the regional semifinals.

»RELATED: Statewide regional semifinal pairings

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Two years ago, the Rams went toe-to-toe with powerhouse Coldwater in the round of 16, but lost 27-24. Several current players were starters in that game, Haines said. He reminded his players this week that while Wheelersburg has a good football program, so does Greeneview.

“We’re not at the level of Wheelersburg as a brand, or Coldwater a couple years ago,” Haines said, “but I’ll bet my last dime that they’ll go back knowing who Jamestown Greeneview is.”

Wheelersburg is located in Scioto County along the Ohio River and moved to Region 20 after playing in Region 19 last season. The Pirates beat Pemberville Eastwood 21-14 in overtime to win their second state championship in school history.

“They’re a rock solid football team with really no weaknesses across the board,” Haines said. “They do a lot of things to keep you on your toes on both sides of the ball.”

After falling to D-III powerhouse Columbus Bishop Hartley 51-20 in Week 2, Wheelersburg has won 10 straight games, including a 52-7 victory over Portsmouth West in the quarterfinals.

Wheelersburg runs multiple offensive sets, including spread formations, as well as pro-style offensive sets, Haines said.

“They can do all of it very seamlessly,” he said.

Defensively, the Pirates run a 4-2-5 defense. They haven’t allowed more than seven points in a game since Week 6.

“It’ll be a real tall task for our kids,” Haines said.

The Rams must take care of the ball to be successful, he said.

“You can’t turn the ball over or take a lot of negatives on offense,” Haines said. “We’ve got to tighten the game down a little bit.”

The Rams’ playoff success has infused a strong work ethic into the program, he said. The players know they must work hard year-round to elevate their program to such great heights, Haines said.

“This is the results of that,” he said. “That discipline and structure has really brought the program a long way.”

With one more victory, the Rams 2019 senior class can become the winningest class in program history with 38 wins. They’re currently tied with their former teammates, the class of 2018, with 37 wins in four years.

The playoff run has brought the community together, Haines said.

“That’s what makes high school football special,” he said. “Hopefully, we can keep buying some more weeks that they can support us.”

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