By John Bombatch
SIDNEY — The difference between four-time defending state Division V champion Coldwater and the Greeneview Rams was a blocked kick, during Saturday’s regional semifinal thriller on 30 & 0 field at Sidney Memorial Stadium.
Greeneview (9-3) shocked everyone by jumping out to a 17-0 lead with 3:28 left to play in the half. But Coldwater (11-1) came alive late in the half to score two quick touchdowns to make the score 17-14 in Greeneview’s favor at the half.
It wasn’t until midway through the fourth quarter that Coldwater garnered its only lead of the game, and the eventual win.
“We came out and played physical and challenged them a bit. They gave us some opportunities — some that we capitalized on, some we didn’t — but boy, our kids really played with a lot of pride and a lot of effort, and you’ve gotta be really proud of them,” Greeneview coach Neal Kasner said.
The Greeneview players congratulated each other after the game. Each player knew how well they’d played, and they knew that they’d earned Coldwater’s respect.
“We stuck together as a team, and we did our jobs. The ball just didn’t roll our way this week, but I trust this off season that the coaches will work just as hard and they’ll be back here next year,” senior standout quarterback Collin Matt said.
Greeneview was forced to punt the ball away with just over five minutes left to play, but the Cavs punt returner fumbled the reception and the Rams’ Collin Wilson recovered the fumble on Coldwater’s 35-yard line with 5:06 left to play.
The Coldwater defense stiffened and stalled the Rams’ 11-play drive on the Cavalier 4-yard line. On fourth down, Greeneview placekicker Bryce Wilson attempted a 21-yard field goal to tie the game at 24-24, but Coldwater’s Adam Siefring was able to get a hand on the kick to deflect the ball well short of the goal post. Coldwater managed one first down on its final possession, and used up enough time to run out the clock for the win.
“They utilized different guys against us, and threw some and did a nice job of keeping us off balanced,” Coldwater coach Chip Otten said. “They didn’t turn the ball over, they played well. I didn’t really know anything about them before tonight, and now I know they play a good, clean game, with good sportsmanship. I have a good respect for their program now.”
Greeneview’s Griffin Mangan rushed for 59 yards on 20 carries and had two 1-yard scoring runs. Collin Matt completed 8 of 11 passes for 89 yards and broke a series of tackles before getting out in the clear for a 49-yard score in the second-half.
Coldwater’s Neal Muhlenkamp had a busy night. The Cavaliers senior accounted for 21 points, with a pair of touchdown runs of 16 yards each, a 27-yard TD pass reception from quarterback Ryan Thobe, and 3-of-4 converted extra point tries.
The Cavaliers have now won 22 straight postseason games, but this one might’ve been one of their toughest.
Greeneview’s smash-mouth brand of hard hitting football created one interception (by Lane Goodbar, after a jarring hit by teammate Tyler Dovayak), a fumble (recovered by Austin Roberts), a recovered Cavs fumble on fourth down, a tipped pass that led to an interception by Greeneview’s Nick Clevenger, and Wilson’s fumble recovery on a punt reception. Roberts also recovered the ball on a bad Coldwater punt snap that sailed 30 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
In all, those turnovers led to 17 of Greeneview’s 24 points.
“I’m extremely proud of how hard we all played. Our offensive line, they’re just so strong. I feel safe back there in the pocket, because they give me plenty of time. They opened up big holes for our backs. That offensive line is really good. Our backs hump it up in there, they do their 1/11th, and everybody else does their 1/11th, and we get things done,” Matt said.
They nearly knocked off the state champs, on Saturday.
Score By Quarters
Greeneview 7 10 7 0 — 24
Coldwater 0 14 7 6 — 27
GV — Griffin Mangan 1 run (Bryce Wilson kick)
GV — Wilson 21 field goal
GV — Mangan — 1 run (Wilson kick)
C — Dylan Thobe 6 run (Neal Muhlenkamp kick)
C — Muhlenkamp 27 pass from Thobe (Muhlenkamp)
GV — Collin Matt 49 run (Wilson kick)
C — Muhlenkamp 16 run (Muhlenkamp kick)
C — Muhlenkamp 16 run (kick failed)
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.