Tonight, Friday October 28, 2022, the North Posey Vikings will be traveling to Paoli, Indiana to face the Rams for IHSAA football Sectional 40 Round 2. Both teams have found success this season and this should be a great matchup. The Vikings are 8-2 on the season, whereas the Rams are 7-3. If you’re looking for a sectional game to watch, come down to Paoli as I’m sure it will be a high scoring, big play affair.
According to Jeff Sagarin’s High School football ratings, the Rams enter the Sectional game as the underdogs, ranked 202 of 316 teams. Sagarin gives North Posey a ranking of 145. I respect the rankings, but looking closer at the Vikings schedule, it’s been a pretty easy road for North Posey.
North Posey’s only big win of the season comes over a middle of the road Heritage Hills team, but the rest of their wins comes from teams haven’t had great seasons. The two Vikings losses were basically blowouts.
Paoli has faced tougher competition this season and learned a lot on the way. They played tough against Boonville to open the season, had one of the most exciting games with Corydon Central, lost most of their starting line, but still played with heart. Yes, some of Paoli’s games later in the season were against down teams, but the Rams carry the harder schedule.
The Vikings will bring a very interesting offense with multiple layers, receivers will be moving everywhere trying to confuse the backfield defense. The Vikings will pass but are a run first team as Paoli Coach Neil Dittmer shares,
“North Posey is a physical, multi formational team that tries to confuse you with multiple sets, but it comes down to them wanting to run the football with multiple backs. They will throw the ball as well, but they are a run first team. On defense they play fast and physical. Their interior is stout, and the outside backers do a good job of setting the edge.”Paoli Head Coach Neil Dittmer
The two teams do not have much history, not having played since the 2005 sectional title game. Back then, North Posey defeated Paoli 3 years in a row in the Sectional Title game. That may be a distance memory for some, but I’m sure some Paoli fans carry memories of those sectional championship games. Might finally be time for Paoli to get some pay back.
That was nearly 20 years ago though, and the Rams are going in a little blind, beside tape and hearsay about the confusing WR schemes. It’s all smoke and mirrors, and if the Rams can overcome that doubtful unknown, dial in on tape, and remember their keys, the Rams will win this game.
They will win behind a strong running game from very athletic players. Junior RB/LB, Trey Rominger will be the focus on both sides of the ball for the Rams. Rominger leads the team in rushing with 202 attempts for 1,603 yards and 17 touchdowns. At the beginning of the season, I said he could get to the 2,000 mark this year, and it’s still completely possible. Trey also leads the team in tackles with 63.5 total, 6 for a loss, and 1 sack.
The other star of the show for the Rams features Senior Braxton Elliot at QB/DB. Braxton carries the threat to break it outside on any given play, rushing 82 times this season for 856 yards and 14 touchdowns. He’ll come in clutch on the offense, but it will be his play on the defensive side of the ball that will carry more weight in the game.
That goes the same for Brandon Cook and Fletcher Cole. They are all explosive, harness very similar explosive tendencies on the outside run game, and they all play defensive back type roles. The Vikings will be throwing strange WR sets at them all night. They will be tested, and if they keep the receivers in front of them, and not get fooled by the play action, then they will be fine. The Rams LB and defensive front will control the middle run game.
I also look for a big game from Rams’ Senior Austin Benales, who’s a huge leader for the Rams defense. He brings a lot of energy to the team and is a very capable pass rusher. Isaiah Apple and Jaxson Reynolds have all had great seasons and will be a big part of a Rams win tonight. Coy Busick will be a Rams sleeper that may surprise some of the Vikings lineman.
Paoli Coach Dittmer shares what Paoli must do to win, ”We will need to focus on shutting down their run game and trying to make them one dimensional. Offensively we will need to continue to mix up inside and outside run while staying on schedule and controlling the time of possession.
Ultimately it comes down to focusing on us. Be mentally and physically prepared, playing every snap with excellent execution, and playing with enthusiasm and excitement. If we do those things we will give ourselves an opportunity to win.”Paoli Head Football Coach Neil Dittmer
I couldn’t find much on North Posey, based on stats from Maxpreps, North Posey could have big games from Liam Stone, Jed Galvin, and Kolton Gardner, at least that’s a few they’ve put stats in for.
For the Vikings to win, they can’t focus solely on Trey Rominger. I know he’s hard not to focus on, but Elliot and Rominger are very good at confusing the defense, making a lot of teams take the bait up the middle, giving Elliot a chance outside for huge runs, or flick it to Cook, Benales or Cole the same huge run potential.
So the Vikings only hope of winning is trying to stop those outside runs.. and well trying to stop Trey too, because if you don’t focus on Rominger, he’s going to beat you up the middle, or outside, or wherever. He’s going to make 3 people bring him down if he does go down. Hopefully coach lets him Kick Return some more this game.
The Vikings will need to use their WR lineups to confuse the Rams and keep Paoli guessing to whether it’s a run or a pass. I would try to slow the Rams down and keep that potent offensive off the field.
The winner of this game will most likely go on to face Mater Dei in the IHSAA Sectional 40 Final. Mater Dei plays Tell City tonight after soundly beating Perry Central in the previous week. The Rams know how good Mater Dei is, and they could be more focused on their presence then on the game tonight, and that could come back to cost them. Worry about Mater Dei next week, focus on the Vikings tonight.
We’ll see you at the game.
Paoli Rams coverage all season has been made possible by Rominger Farms.