Today, Friday September 23, 2022, the Paoli Rams travel to Eastern Greene in a 2A IHSAA Football matchup.
The Thunderbirds come into Week 6 with 1 win over Mitchell. Thunderbird Running Back James Lewis had a spectacular game over the Bluejackets, rushing 33 times for 372 yards and 7 touchdowns. Lewis’ performance earned him Week 4 SISN Player of the Week, and he’ll be someone the Rams have their eyes on tonight.
Paoli is coming off a blow out win over West Washington 41 to 0. The Rams were clicking on all sides of the ball in one of their best team performances this season. Eastern may have a runner who can get some yards, but Paoli has three of four that can break free at any time. Eastern isn’t a team that can handle the rush well, so I see it being another productive day on the ground for the Rams.
Trey Rominger will draw most of the focus up the gut on both sides of the ball. Rominger is leading the Rams with 729 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns. Trey is also playing well at the Inside Linebacker position, leading the team in tackles at 24.5 and recovering 3 fumbles. Rominger is currently 12th in the state in rushing yards.
Senior RB Brandon Cook has picked it up in recent weeks, utilizing his quickness to get huge gains on the outside. He was nominated to the SISN PotW list for his performance against West Washington, rushing 4 times for 157 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cook is also third on the team in tackles with 19.5 and 2 pass deflections.
Braxton Elliot, the Rams Senior QB, has been prime all season as well. He’ll get his share of yards, as well as Austin Benales and Fletcher Cole. The options are there for the Rams, and I think they may be too much for the Thunderbirds. But the Rams like to beat themselves, so they’ll have to come in with motivation and focus to keep away from those penalties.
Benales will be a staple on defense, who is currently second on the team in tackles with 22.5, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss, and a forced fumble. He is a blitzing threat that is quick off the ball. Jaxson Reynolds and Isaiah Apple will also play a featuring role in the Paoli defensive game tonight.
In last year’s game, Paoli shut out Eastern Greene 55-0. The running clock ran for much of the game, and it wasn’t much of a contest. The Thunderbirds will not want a repeat performance.
Travis Wray is in his first year at Eastern Greene. He has the program heading in the right direction, but there have been some growing pains. Coach Wray had this to share with SISN about his team, “We have improved as a team each and every week. We have had one game where all three phases of the game offense, defense and special teams have clicked together and that is our one win for the year. “
“Against Paoli we have to be sound in all phases defensively against their triple option and we have to do our jobs as they are well coached, hard nosed kids that are build on speed and working hard.”
“This first season we came in as a coaching staff to improve each and every week, and for the program to learn our system. We have made strides along the way and it might not be showing up in the wins and losses but confidence is starting to grow both amongst the players and around the community.”
I am from Eastern Greene and I know the community is supportive of their team and coach. It’s a great football program and I look forward to watching them grow. It may be a difficult matchup tonight but I’m hoping to see great effort on both sides of the ball. I’ll be on both sides lines taking photos of both teams and look forward to seeing friends in both stands.
As always, Paoli Football coverage is made possible by sponsorship from Rominger Farms.