Paoli, IN – The Paoli Rams Football team rushed 60 times for 561 yards in a 67 to 40 win over the Corydon Central Panthers Friday night, Aug 26, 2022. The night was full of offensive highlights, long kickoff returns, and powerful hits. A fun night of football.
Paoli’s Coach Neil Dittmer shared with us after the game,
“Glad to get the win, Corydon has some stellar athletes that we knew could take over a game. I like the way we attacked offensively and thought we played better overall. We have a lot we can get better at still, especially with the Orange Bowl this week, we are going to need to get better quickly… Braxton Elliot did improve this week. He had better reads and was just more confident overall… Austin Benales was solid all night on both sides. It started with him being a much better blocker and he really dialed in on his tackling.”Neil Dittmer – Paoli Head Football Coach
Corydon Central started the game with the ball, and quickly went 3 and out. Giving the opening to Paoli Rams to take the first lead, and never gave it up.
On the Rams’ first possession, rushing attempts led their drive, but penalties on both teams, reset big plays. Eventually Junior Trey Rominger would score on a 4 and 2 run. Putting the Rams up 0-7 on their first possession.
The Panthers came back swinging, driving the ball with short pass plays. Panthers’ QB Tyler Fessel threw a great pass to WR Jalen Fowler for a 50-yard touchdown. Fowler’s speed was evident as he beat several of the Rams defenders for the TD. Game tied 7 to 7.
This game was a fight, and the punches came early. The Rams followed the big pass touchdown with 2 first down runs, capped with an outside touchdown run to by Austin Benales. Rams go up 15 to 7, Rominger is successful at the 2-pt conversion, start of the second quarter.
On the Panther’s third possession, the Rams nearly held them to another 3 and out, but Fessel heaved another TD on third down, this time to Waylon Doblado. Corydon Central would fail on the 2 point conversion bringing the score to 15-13, Rams lead.
Braxton Elliot, Paoli’s starting QB, ran back the ensuing kick off for a huge touchdown, responding directly with another punch. The extra point attempt was blocked by Corydon, leaving the score at 21-13, Rams.
Paoli pressures Corydon heavily again on the seventh drive of the game, forcing yet another early third down. Fessel to Fowler once again pulls the Panthers from having to punt, but they quickly faced another third down. This time Austin Benales, Paoli’s Senior LB/RB, was able to get the sack and force a fourth down. The Panthers punt.
Flectcher Cole was the hero of Paoli’s next possession. Pulling in a huge catch on fourth down, then following it up with a 20+ yard run on the exterior for a touchdown at the 4:08 minute mark going into the half. After a failed point after, Paoli Rams lead 27-13.
Anthony Martin, number 11 for Corydon Central, returns the kickoff for a touchdown. Martin had several good kick returns, taking it from one side of the field and moving to the other. Running right around the entire Rams kickoff squad. Score is now 27 to 20. Paoli.
The tenth drive of the game included a flea-flicker type play with Brandon Cook tossing it up Fletcher Cole, who’s basketball skills came in handy as he leaped for the high pass, coming down with it in the endzone. 13 seconds remain on the clock, Rams up 33-20. Paoli lands a knock out punch going into half.
The third quarter starts with Paoli to receive. Trey Rominger comes up big with a 37-yard run, followed by a big reception. The Rams attack with the rushing game and cap it off with an Austin Benales run. Rams up 41-20 after successful 2 point run by Braxton Elliot.
Thrill continues as Corydon responds quickly, Corydon’s Fessel throwing another huge touchdown pass to Kam Walter for 52 yards on the first set of downs. 41-33. Corydon Central kept getting back up all night, fighting hard to stay in the game.
Rams respond again with gut check running by Trey Rominger and Braxton Elliot. Elliot gets the rushing touchdown this possession, but the extra point is not good. Paoli up 44-33.
The sixteenth possession of the game featured Paoli’s first punt. The Rams were pushing heavily with the run again, but costly penalties kept pulling them back from the first down. Trey Rominger punts the ball well down to the opponents 5-yard line.
Next possession wasn’t much better for the Panthers, who drove the ball well, until a penalty took away all their momentum, followed by a forced fumble, a ball spiked near the benches, and a complete breakdown from the Corydon Panthers sidelines. Paoli Rams get the ball off fumble at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Panthers’ will starts to dwindle.
Trey Rominger and Braxton Elliot respond again. Trey rushes for a 21-yard run who tag teams Elliot to finish with another rushing touchdown. He had 3 on the day. 53 to 33. Rams.
The 18th possession of the game featured Corydon Central’s last touchdown. There were several key penalties on this play, including an interception by Fletcher Cole, but was called back, after a Paoli player blocked someone in the back after the pick. This should have stayed an interception, but the refs chose to give the ball back to Corydon, who responded with Tyler Fessel touchdown run.
The rest of the game panned out too 2 more touchdowns on the ground for Trey Rominger, as well as a fumble recovery to seal up the game. Rams win 67 to 40. Very exciting game to watch live.
Corydon Central Panthers Players of the Game
Tyler Fessel, #8, Senior QB/DB
Tyler Fessel completed 12 of 21 passes for 252 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 89 rushing yards with 2 touchdowns. He was solid all night in the passing game and a very skilled player, who will continue to have a great season.
Anthony Martin, #11, Senior RB/LB
Anthony Martin was a special teams nightmare. He had 3 kick returns for a total of 204 yards and 1 touch down, which was an 87 yard return. Martin also had 2 catches for 22 yards.
Jalen Fowler, #2, Senior WR/DB
Jalen Fowler was probably the fastest person on the field, as he showcased with his only touchdown in the first quarter. He was showboating down the field, which may have came back to haunt him with the final score. He was fast though! He had 4 receptions for 72 yards and touchdown.
Paoli Rams Players of the Game
Trey Rominger, #24, Junior RB/LB
Trey Rominger rushed 31 times for a total of 255 yards and 3 touchdowns, an average of 8.2 yards a carry. He also had one catch for 12 yards, and a fumble recovery. Rominger was instrumental in a ferocious Rams running game from multiple players. Rominger is within 300 yards of Paoli’s school rushing record.
Braxton Elliot, #4, Senior QB/DB
Braxton Elliot had 141 kick return yards with 1 TD, 113 rushing yards with 2 touchdowns, and 26 passing yards. The Field General rallied his troops and kept the momentum going and was a huge part in the Rams victory.
Austin Benales, #5, Senior, RB/LB
Austin Benales was a source of energy all night for the Rams, coming up with some huge key plays to disrupt the Panthers’ gameplan. Benales had 85 rushing yards and 2 TDs. As well as 2 huge sacks and a force fumble.
Corydon Central Panthers Grades
Pass Offense Grade: B
The Panther’s passing looked great, with Tyler Fessel completing 57% of his passes for 252 yards and 3 touchdowns. His offensive line did not give him much time in the pocket, and if they had, I think this Corydon Central team would have walked away with the win. Fessel was constantly chased outside the box. The Panther receivers were athletic, quick, and lengthy. Making it an easy match up versus the smaller Rams backfield.
Rushing Grade: C
Once again QB Tyler Fessel led the way in the Panther’s run game with 89 yards and 2 touchdowns. A lot of these runs were the result of being forced out of the box and just needing to react. Even though Fessel was being chased down, he was able to get wide for big yardage. Something that Rams have not been able to stop in the first 2 games. The Panthers offensive line will need to step it up going forward.
Pass Defense Grade: C
The Panthers pass defense held Braxton Elliot to minimal yards, but he’s coming off a game where he didn’t complete a pass. Corydon Central failed to get any sacks or interceptions, in what should have been a better performance for a more athletic DB team.
Rush Defense Grade: D
The Rams were able to run all over the Panthers. It took several defenders to bring any rushers down, and holes were constantly opened. The Rams front line is new, but they overpowered the Corydon DL.
Special Teams Grade: B
Corydon Central’s special teams performed very well on Friday. The Panthers blocked several extra points, had a lot of return yards, and basically did what they were supposed to do. Besides passing, the special teams play was the best part of Corydon’s performance.
Paoli Rams Grades
Pass Offense Grade: C
The Rams’ passing offense looked better this week. Braxton Elliot’s vision improved, and he was looking more confident looking down the field. His numbers would be better if not for penalties. The mix of option to pass plays really caught the Panthers unaware.
Rushing Grade: A
The Rams ran for days with a combined 561 yards and 8 total rushing touchdowns. The Rams’ rushing threat is the reason they won this game.
Pass Defense Grade: C
The Paoli Rams’ passing defense played as well as they could against an experience passer/running threat QB in Fessel. If Paoli’s offense wasn’t scoring as fast as they were, the passing game of Corydon would have taken over. The DB and LB will have to work together to minimize the medium to deep threats and stay on their reads. They can cover the short passes and screens very well but get beat deep.
Rush Defense Grade: B
Two games in a row, Paoli has been able to control the gut, not allowing any big interior rushing plays against them. Their only draw back is that they allow players to cut to the outside and get big yardage on them. Finding out how to contain the QB from leaking outside will benefit them going into the Orange Bowl against Springs Valley.
Special Teams Grade: D
Even though Elliot was able to run a kick back for a touchdown, the rest of the Special Teams did not perform very well this game. Multiple PAT were blocked or failed. The kick defense was getting beat nearly every time as the returner would just run the entire other direction of the field. This resulted in the kicker having to kick it short most of the second half.
Corydon Central is at home on September 2nd, taking on a very good North Harrison team who has soundly beat Salem and Scottsburg the first 2 games of the season.
Paoli Rams prepare for one of the most exciting games of the year, the Orange Bowl, where they face off against rival Spring Valley Blackhawks, who are also 2-0 on the season. These two teams did not get to play each other last season and they’re ready to go.