High School Football: Greeneview looking for 3rd straight playoff trip

After making its first two football playoff appearances the last two years and reaching the second round each time, the Greeneview has higher aspirations this season.

Sixth-year coach Neal Kasner has huddled with each of his returning players to discuss their goals, and the recurring theme in those meetings is that the Rams intend to make an even deeper postseason run.

“One of the things I hear is they want to play 13 games. We played 12 the last two years. They want to get off the hump, and they want to leave a mark for other teams to aspire to and leave a legacy,” Kasner said.

“I’m just too old to get into that too much because I know the process it takes to get there. That’s what we have to keep our focus on.”

The 45-year-old Kasner has grown accustomed to raised expectations, having breathed life into downtrodden programs in each of his three stops.

The Rams went 15 years without a winning record and were coming off an 0-9 season before he arrived. But they’ve gone 10-2 and 8-4 the last two years.

Kasner also led Mechanicsburg to five playoff trips in six seasons and took Harrison to the postseason in 2006 and ’10, leaving there when his teaching position was eliminated.

He refuses to take much credit, though.

“At all three places, there’s been a great work ethic among the young men. We try to build off that. We’re going to work hard, and that’s where our success comes from.

“And this goes back to the families and communities I’ve been fortunate to coach in — there’s discipline and an ability to follow directions and a toughness to stick it through when it gets hard. I’m spoiled in that regard.”

Although Kasner is taking a cautious approach, the Rams appear to have the makings of another playoff team. Senior quarterback Collin Matt is in his second year as a starter, and he gained close to 1,700 yards rushing and passing last season.

Eastern Kentucky-bound Ethan Bradds is a versatile weapon. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound senior will line up at tight end, receiver and running back.

Four of five starters are back on the offensive line.

The Rams will replace star running back Logan Test, who set program records for rushing yards (1,664) and touchdowns (26), with the trio of senior Austin Roberts and juniors Jacob Green and Griffin Mangan.

“All three are similar type runners — physical, downhill kids,” Kasner said.

The defense has plenty of battle-tested players with seniors Isaiah Harding and Garrett Wilson on the line and Bradds, Mangan, Roberts and Green at linebacker.

Although sophomore Ian Tamplin is the sole returning starter in the secondary, Kasner said, “We’re more athletic there than we were a year ago.”

The Rams, who play at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy in their opener Friday, have a 28-77 all-time record in the Ohio Heritage Conference, but they broke through to win their first title in 2014 and look to be a contender again.

“The players have a lot of optimism,” Kasner said. “They’ve won for a while now, and they’re starting to believe in each other.”