Late field goal lifts Rams past Indians, ending Mechanicsburg streak

Long before its season began, the Greeneview High School football team circled Sept. 15 on its calendar — a Week 4 trip to Mechanicsburg.

No player inside the Rams’ locker room had ever beaten the perennial Ohio Heritage Conference powerhouse. No other team had beaten the Indians in a regular season game since 2014 — until Friday night.

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Greeneview kicker Jon Brakeall hit a 20-yard field goal with about one minute remaining as the Rams beat Mechanicsburg 17-14, ending the Indians’ 26-game regular season winning streak.

“A lot of them said (before the season), I want to beat Mechanicsburg,” first-year coach Ryan Haines said. “It was a goal they had set for each other. I’m so proud of our kids. Our kids worked so hard.”

Rams senior Griffin Mangan and junior Collin Wilson each had touchdowns as Greeneview improved to 4-0. It was the first victory for Greeneview at Mechanicsburg since 2012.

Sophomore quarterback Logan Hurst and freshman receiver Keith Bebout each had touchdowns for the Indians (3-1), who hadn’t lost a regular season game since Oct. 10, 2014 when it fell to West Liberty-Salem 42-38. The Indians went 10-0 each of the last two seasons.

Greeneview took the early lead with a 57-yard scoop and score by Rams senior Griffin Mangan on Mechanicsburg’s opening possession.

The teams traded multiple possessions until Hurst scored from nine yards out with 28 seconds remaining to tie the score at 7. A big gain on a screen pass from Hurst to senior tight end Justin Hunt set up the touchdown.

In its first possession of the second half, Clevenger found Wilson from six yards out to take a 14-7 lead.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Mechanicsburg used some trickery to tie the game. After Hurst found Dustin Knapp on a screen pass, the senior running back the tossed it to Bebout for a 46-yard touchdown pass. It was Knapp’s first career touchdown pass.

With about five minutes remaining in the game, Greeneview pinned Mechanicsburg deep in its own territory and got the ball back at the Indians’ 35-yard line. The Rams duo of Clevenger and Mangan drove the ball to Mechanicsburg’s 3-yard line where Brakeall hit game-winning field goal.

“This looked like No. 12 in the state against No. 13 in the state and I mean that,” Haines said.

The Indians drove the ball as far as its own 48-yard line in the waning moments, but couldn’t get any closer.

“It was two good football teams,” Indians coach Kurt Forrest said. “It came down to a field goal with a minute left. I mean, what more do you want?”

Despite the loss, the Indians will do the same thing they’ve always done starting Monday, Forrest said.

“We’re going to get back to work,” he said. “The reason I’m smiling right now is because I’m extremely proud of our kids.”

It was the first crossover meeting between both teams in the expanded Ohio Heritage Conference. The 12-team league is now split into two North and South divisions.

Both teams will play another crossover matchup before beginning division play in Week 6. Greeneview hosts Northeastern in Week 5, while Mechanicsburg travels to Madison Plains.

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