JAMESTOWN — Moments after Thursday’s practice, Greeneview Rams Head Coach Ryan Haines talked about how playing in the postseason is an honor just to be one of the remaining teams in the state go be playing an 11th week of high school football.
“And usually, you play somebody new,” he said with a smile.
As the Region 20 computer points shook themselves out, sixth seeded Greeneview (10-0) found itself playing an all-too-familiar foe in Friday’s Nov. 3 opening round of the postseason: No. 3 seed Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (7-2).
Friday’s game will be the fourth time in four years that the two perennial powers have faced each other.
“The last two were regular season Week 1 games. And the one before that was a playoff loss at Centerville,” Haines said. “We’re pretty familiar with them, but they’re familiar with us too.”
Haines said CHCA’s offense is similar to what the Eagles have had in years past. They average 201.1 yards per game in passing. Defensively, he sees the Eagles going to more of a four-man front defensive line, instead of the three-man line they’ve had in previous years.
The Greeneview senior class will be playing in its fourth straight postseason. Haines says the entire team seems loose and ready to play, not because they’ve been to the playoffs before, but because that’s just how they play on game days.
“I think the identity of our team has always been pretty loose. We’re as calm and focused now as we were in Week 3. I don’t see our seniors or varsity players uptight or pressing at all.
“That’s just who we are. Some teams want to be absolutely silent and locked into their thoughts, but we’re always pretty loose. When we get tight, we don’t play well. And that only happens when we try to be someone else. On the other hand, we’re not goofy. We’re not overly loose. We go about our business, and they understand the importance of these ball games.”
In the three previous meetings, third-seeded CHCA holds a 2-1 edge.
In a 2014 playoff game, the Eagles defeated Greeneview 28-14 at Centerville High.
Greeneview surprised CHCA by claiming a 35-28 win over the Eagles in the 2015 regular season opener at Don Nock Field. Last season, the Eagles were the ones to claim a Week One home win. They defeated the Rams by a 41-22 count in Cincinnati. That same year, both teams’ postseason hopes were derailed by eventual D-V state runner-up Coldwater. Greeneview lost a close 27-24 contest in Sidney; CHCA lost the following week to Coldwater by a 44-14 score.
“We’ve gotta make them one dimensional,” Haines said. “They like to throw the ball. … And our mentality since Day 1 has been to take away the run game. If we can shut down their talented running back (No. 21, Alex Barnard), take him out of the game and force them to throw the ball, … bad things can happen when you have to throw.
“There’s more unknowns when the ball has to go up. That’s what I’m counting on.”
Tough Region: Greeneview’s Division V Region 20 has the most undefeated teams than any other region in Ohio, and none of the three are listed among the region’s top 3.
Bethel-Tate (10-0) is the region’s No. 4 seed, Ohio Heritage Conference newcomer West Jefferson (9-0) is the No. 5 seed, and Greeneview (10-0) is seeded at No. 6. West Jefferson and Greeneview were not aligned to play each other in the 2017 regular season.
Ranking Respect: A panel of Ohio sportswriters and broadcasters voted for five of the eight regional representatives in Division V, Region 20 in the final state poll. Greeneview is the region’s sixth seed, but they were ranked highest in the final Associated Press state poll at No. 5.
Fourth seeded Bethel-Tate was ranked No. 7 in Ohio, and fifth-seed West Jefferson was in at No. 10. Anna (No. 7 seed) received the 12th most votes in the final poll, and top-seeded Miami East was 14th.
Regional playoff qualifiers CHCA, Reading and Madison were not ranked in the final state poll.
No Coldwater: Last postseason, CHCA and Greeneview were knocked out on the playoffs in successive weeks by Coldwater. That won’t happen this time. Division V 2016 state runner-up Coldwater is a playoff contender in Division VI now.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.