CEDARVILLE — The Battle of 72 started out as a hard hitting, emotional affair before Greeneview flexed its power.
Using three touchdowns in the second quarter, the Rams blew open the game heading into halftime and cruised to a 42-10 victory at Cedarville on Friday.
“That’s a huge credit to the kids and to the coaches,” said Greeneview head coach Ryan Haines said about the win. “Our coaches just made some early adjustments to the game plan and our kids were locked into their tunnel vision to just try and get better every single play. We just kept swinging that hammer and that’s what we ask of them. [Cedarville] came out physical and we knew that they would.”
The final statistics indicated a closer battle than how the game played out. The Rams outgained the Indians 284-221 and racked up 224 rushing yards.
Junior Rylan Hurst was stopped short of another 100-yard rushing game, but lead the Rams with 82 on 10 carries with a touchdown run.
Cedarville senior Max Pollander had a season-high 60 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback keeper in the final minute of the game.
It was the first touchdown allowed by the Rams’ defense in 11 quarters.
“The two things that we hang our hat on is that our defense continues to play well in attack, and offensively we control the line of scrimmage against that tough five-man odd front,” Haines said. “And then we just ended up making the plays when we had to.”
After trading three-and-outs early, Greeneview broke through late in the first quarter. A 37-yard scamper by junior Ashtan Hendricks saw him take a sweep to the right and elude a final defender at the Cedarville 10-yard line. The 71-yard drive gave the Rams a 7-0 lead.
Later in the second quarter up 14-0, Greeneview’s defense added to the scoring.
Following a long kickoff return by Cedarville senior Masin Bowen, senior Max Pollander was picked off by Greeneview junior Carter Williams who went 84 yards to the house.
Greeneview gained a 28-0 halftime lead on a 20-yard touchdown reception by Williams.
“We told our kids to just be really focused for 48 minutes,” said Haines. “You can get a little extra emotional at times in the Battle of 72.”
The Indians’ best chance in the first-half to score came at the end of the first quarter when they drove to the Rams’ 26-yard line, but failed to convert a 4th-and-4 pass.
Greeneview junior Cole Dehaven scored on a nine-yard quarterback keeper to make it 35-0 early in the third quarter to keep the rout moving. Following a Cedarville field goal, freshman Tigabu Upchurch got in on the fun for the Rams after scooping up a blocked punt for another TD.
Greeneview is now 3-0 in OHC play and is tied for first-place with Greenon.
Cedarville next travels to Southeastern. Greeneview will play host to Catholic Central as it continues a run toward a playoff berth.
With both the chance at a league title and postseason spot coming within reach, Haines said he doesn’t want to put so much on his team’s plate at one time. But he said maintaining a way to keep focus will be key to continuing the recent success.
“I think it was after Mechanicsburg, I woke up in the morning and just had a thought about tunnel vision,” Haines said. “And that’s what myself and the coaches are going to continue to preach to the kids to maintain tunnel vision and don’t look ahead to the next game or to the playoffs. We just have to control getting better every day on the field and practice and in games.”
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.