Its gameday today as the Paoli Rams travel to West Washington, taking on the Senators in a Patoka Lake conference game. The Rams come into the game at 2-2. They look to make up for an ugly loss last week against Perry Central.
The home team West Washington comes into Week 5 undefeated. They will look to continue their streak and take the lead in this historic series. Since the 1994 season, both teams have 14 wins and 14 losses against each other.
These teams have been going back and forth for years, and it could go either way tonight as well.
To add more to their history, West Washington’s head coach Jeremy Lowery coached at Paoli for 2 years in 2017 and 2018. In that 2018 season, Coach Lowery’s team won the sectional title and finished the season at 12-1, and there is a lot of respect for Lowery at Paoli.
Coach Neil Dittmer joined the Rams program in 2020, and carries a respectable 16 and 9 record with the school. Dittmer has had up and down success with the Senators in his first 2 seasons. Last year, the Rams demolished West Washington, 50-22. But in 2020, the Senators shut out the Rams with a score of 43 to 0.
That 2020 Senators team made it to Semi-State the second season in a row, after the passing of their head coach in the 2019 season. 2021 was a rebuilding year for the Senators, but its looking like the WW players are starting to buy into Coach Jeremy Lowery’s ideals.
Paoli features some of the most exciting running backs in Southern Indiana, with the new school rushing record holder, Trey Rominger, leading the charge. West Washington knows the threat that Rominger brings and will focus heavily on stopping him. In the past few games, this heavy focus allowed runners like Braxton Elliot and Brandon Cook to get wide and cap off heavy runs.
Against Perry Central, the Rams could not find their place on defensive, nor could they find offensive push to get Rominger free. The Rams offensive line folded before the handoff, making many attempts null. The Rams will need to control the penalties on big plays. For much of the season, big plays have been called back due to holding calls.
The Rams were sluggish last week, but they are a team that can bounce back. They start by turning things around in the first half. Rams’ opponents are beating them 92 to 54 in the first half, and its not until the fourth quarter until Paoli finds its stride, scoring 56 to opponents 21. Paoli will need to play with the urgency that they have in the fourth, for the entire game.
Saragin ratings give the edge to West Washington, who are ranked 170. Paoli is ranked 211, but West Washington strength of schedule is one of the lowest in the State at 286 (Paoli at 202). West Washington has beaten some of Southern Indiana weakest teams, with Springs Valley being their toughest competition yet, who the Senators beat 38-17 last week.
The Rams had a tougher time with the Blackhawks, but the score probably should have been higher after Paoli fumbled at least 5 times of their own volition.
This game will be a grind for both teams as they fight to control the line of attack. It will be an exciting game that could be all over the place, but the score will probably be close, unless the Rams are feeling springing, then I say Rams break lose with a big lead. It is a pivotal game for a young Rams team that is trying to keep its confidence, and a game the Senators want to win to prove that they are the real deal. It’ll be a good one.