Co-Written by Corey Hall and Chris Marshall
FRENCH LICK – 2022 version of The Orange Bowl did not disappoint. This was definitely the best “Game of the Week” that we’ve had so far. The atmosphere was electric and the action on the field was even better. Paoli was able to come away with their second straight Orange Bowl Title thanks to a great rushing attack led by star RB Trey Rominger and some timely stops on defense. This is a game we’ll remember for a long time coming.
Paoli Rams vs Springs Valley Blackhawks Game Recap
Stands are full on both sides, fans crowd the track, it’s an electrified atmosphere for the Orange Bowl 2022. The Paoli Rams receive the opening kickoff and Braxton Elliot gets the Rams started with a big run down the side. The drive would stall slightly for the Rams, but Elliot would eventually score. Trey Rominger gets the early 2-point conversion putting Paoli up 8-0 over the Blackhawks.
Paoli kicks to Valley, and quickly recovers a fumble. Paoli coughed it right back up on the very next play. This was a theme of the night, as it was reported the ball was slick from the mugginess, and I can attest, it was humid.
The Blackhawks face a tough Rams run defense in the fourth possession of the game. Sophomore DB Fletcher Cole comes up with a crucial pass deflection forcing a Valley punt.
The Rams do not waste any time, utilizing Senior Austin Benales and Sophomore Fletcher Cole in the rush game, the latter capping the play off with a rushing touchdown. Paoli goes up early 15 to 0.
Springs Valley’s Konner Chase highlights the next possession, running for 17 yards on the first play. The drive would stall again after good Rams rush defense.
The second quarter would start, and Valley would find themselves in a 4 and 4, but they escape the situation after a couple Rams penalties, allowing Konner Chase a 7 yard TD run. Paoli leads 15 to 7.
Paoli’s next sequence is messy. The Rams almost fumble away the kick return, followed next by almost fumbling away the hand off. Bad comes in threes, as Trey Rominger loses the ball after a huge 20+ yard run. The Blackhawks back field put a big hit on Rominger to force the fumble. Valley ball.
Valley comes out swinging, completing a 25-yard pass, two rushing first downs, and then an Ezra Mills 5 yard touchdown run. Springs Valley moves the ball with ease and tie the game up at 15 each.
Rams respond well initially with 3 first down runs from Trey Rominger. Paoli eventually sputters after Braxton Elliot fumbles the ball away. Blackhawks football near the end of the half, with Rams turnover woes still plaguing them.
Valleys next drive would sputter again, but they would get another turnover on Paoli’s next drive. Valley could not capitalize on the turnover and the game is tied going into the half. Spring Valley will receive the ball in the third.
The first drive coming out of half is full of penalties on both sides of the ball. Rams start with a defensive offside. Valley then throws for a first that is called back. Rams then go offside again on second. Konner Chase would run for a 12-yard gain. This run would clear without a penalty, but the next down, Valley gets called for a false start. Ezra Mills rushes for a big 15-yard gain, setting up a touchdown for SV’s Larro Childers.
Springs Valley football team takes their first lead of the game at 22 to 15 in the third quarter.
Rams would respond with a couple big runs from Elliot and Rominger, but the Rams would fumble the ball away again.
Valley moved to a passing attack on their next possession, gaining one first down. Paoli was able to recover and smother the deep passes, forcing a Blackhawks punt. Time moves into the fourth quarter, Paoli with the ball down 15-22.
Trey Rominger comes into the clutch as the fourth quarter starts, ushering the Rams down the field. Rominger eventually scores after breaking 3 tackles to get into the endzone. The 2-point conversion is no good, leaving Springs Valley with the lead 21 to 22.
By this point Ezra Mills and Larro Childres are out of the game due to injuries. Valley is still able to push, but the loss of the players is noticeable. The Blackhawks get 2 first downs but are eventually stopped with a fourth down in the redzone. Its 4 and 1 on the 14, and they get a false start flag pulling them back to the 19, 4 and 6th.
Valley still has the one-point lead, but with a little over the minute on the clock they needed to secure the victory. They go for the pass play into the endzone on 4 and 6th, but the Paoli Rams were able to come through and get the stop. Turnover on downs, ball to the Rams with one minute left, down one point.
The Paoli Rams football team charge down the field behind the solid running of Trey Rominger. A late face masking penalty call puts the Rams on the 22. The Rams go to Rominger who charges in it for the game winning touchdown with only a few seconds left on the clock.
Game over, the Paoli Rams win a well fought contest from both teams, 29 to 22.
Junior RB Trey Rominger of the Paoli Rams finishes the game with 26 carries for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns and 7.5 tackles on defense. Rominger officially needs 84 yards to break the Paoli High School rushing record. Braxton Elliot rushed for 85 yards and 1 TD. Isaiah Apple came in clutch with 7.5 tackles, 1 for a loss.
Springs Valley’s Konner Chase rushed 18 times for 80 yards and 1 TD. Mavrick Land completed 6 passes for 104 yards.
SISN was able to catch up with Paoli Head Coach Neil Dittmer after the game.
Players of the Game
Junior RB/LB Trey Rominger
Trey came away with 199 yards on the ground adding two TD’s, most importantly the game winning score with 33 seconds left in the game. He also came up huge on the defensive end tied for first on the team with 7.5 tackles. We caught up with Trey after the game.
Senior QB/DB Braxton Elliot
Braxton finished with 85 yards on 9 carries averaging 8.2 yds/carry good for best in the game. He also added a rushing TD and was vital in the Rams pass defense with a couple great pass breakups. We had a word with Braxton after the game.
Springs Valley Blackhawks
Junior RB/LB Konner Chase
Chase was instrumental in Valley’s running attack jump starting the struggling ‘Hawks offense with their first score on the night and finishing with 80 yards on the ground.
Senior RB/LB Ezra Mills
Ezra had to leave the game early due to injury but before that he was on fire on both sides of the ball. He finished with 47 yards rushing and 14 recieving with one rushing TD. He also added 6 tackles on defense.
Offense – B-
Offensively the Rams came out hot but then the turnover bug came into play. Paoli ended up giving the ball away 5 times on fumbles. They were able to overcome these mistakes, however, thanks to some timely runs from Trey Rominger and Braxton Elliot and squeak out a second straight Orange Bowl Title.
Defense – B+
Paoli had a great gameplan coming into last nights contest as they were able to hold Valley scoreless in the first quarter. They did get burned a few times on pass plays which they will need to shore up, but they were solid against the rush. Ultimately they did enough to come away with the win which is all that matter in the end.
Special Teams – A
Paoli Kicker Chris Nunez knocked in a pretty extra point and was overall solid on kickoffs. The coverage team didn’t allow Valley to get very good field position all night and came up with the game sealing forced fumble to ice it for the Rams.
Springs Valley Blackhawks
Offense – B
Valley looked a bit shell-shocked in the first quarter and couldn’t get anything going. Good in-game adjustments however quickly got them back into the game. They were able to expose Paoli through the passing game to move the ball down the field and let their running backs finish it off.
Defense – C+
While Valley was able to force a multitude of fumbles, when they weren’t poking the ball loose they just couldn’t stop the Rams powerful rushing attack. They just couldn’t make the stops at the right times and were penalized far too often, the main one being the face mask on the Ram’s final possesion that ultimately won the game for Paoli.
Special Teams – A
Kicker Griffin McGee continues to be almost automatic and knocked in both of his extra point attempts. Kickoff coverage was decent never allowing Paoli to get great field position.