PAOLI – The Ram’s matchup against the Mitchell Bluejackets last week was a night of broken records and a lot of scoring. The Bluejackets showed flashes of good football, but it was the Rams every step of the way as they came out on top, 57-7 at the Bluejackets’ home. With the win, the Rams take the PLAC conference crown.
Going into week nine, the Rams are 7-1 and looking strong. Tonight, they face North Knox at home to finish out the regular season. It’s Senior Night for the Rams and they hope to finish on a strong note for their lone senior, Trey Rominger.
As for records, it was Trey Rominger’s night as he broke Paoli’s single game rushing record with 354 rushing yards off 25 carries. He may have also broken the PLAC career rushing record in the game, which was set by Sawyer Guillaume of Perry Central. The record could still switch hands with Sawyer still playing, so we’ll update on the record as the season closes out.
Rominger is also still a contender on the nation’s rushing list. Trey’s 1,612 rushing yards earns him a spot at number 16 on Maxpreps’ Stat Leaders list for the nation. He sits at 4th in the State of Indiana. This is after only getting 6 carries and limited use against a struggling Crawford County team in Week 7.
Paoli Rams vs Mitchell Bluejackets Game Summary
Looking at the first quarter of the Bluejackets game, Paoli came out hot, accumulating 195 total yards. Their ground game was particularly potent, amassing 147 yards on 16 rushes. Trey Rominger stood out with a whopping 95 yards on 8 carries, proving to be the workhorse for Paoli. Fletcher Cole and Dane Padgett also contributed significantly with 31 and 12 yards respectively. The latter found the end zone as well, marking the first touchdown of the match.
Paoli’s aerial attack, although less frequent, was equally effective. Quarterback Fletcher Cole had a perfect completion rate, going 3-for-3 with 48 passing yards. His highlight was a 24-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Spires, adding to the Rams’ attack by land and air.
Mitchell struggled on the ground, registering a net loss of 5 yards. Gavin Robinson and Kale England had limited success, with Robinson being the only one to record a positive gain. Through the air, however, England showed some spark. He completed 5 of his 9 passes, racking up 103 yards. The standout play for Mitchell came from a 27-yard touchdown reception by Gavin Robinson, putting them on the scoreboard, but it would be their only one for the night.
Defensively, Gavin Robinson was everywhere for Mitchell, recording 3.5 tackles, while Trey Minton, Isaiah Apple, and Cooper Spires each managed 1.5 tackles for Paoli. Though both defenses made their presence felt, the quarter was decidedly offensive-centric.
Heading into the second quarter, the Rams were in beast mode, especially on the ground. With an astounding 273 rushing yards in just the second quarter, they proved why their run game is a force to reckon with. Trey Rominger was, once again, the standout player, churning out 170 yards on 10 carries, including two pivotal touchdown runs. However, the biggest play of the quarter belonged to Dane Padgett who galloped for a 67-yard touchdown. Mitchell’s defense seemed to have no answers for these offensive bursts.
Mitchell, in contrast, struggled both offensively and defensively. While they managed a decent 107 total yards for the quarter, their inability to find the end zone reflected their challenges. Gavin Robinson emerged as the best performer for Mitchell, gaining 22 yards on 5 carries and making significant contributions in receptions. QB Kale England had a challenging time with the Paoli defense, throwing two interceptions and completing only 4 of his 13 attempts.
Paoli’s defense was the unsung hero of the quarter. With three interceptions and holding Mitchell scoreless, they solidified their team’s dominance. Cooper Spires led the defensive statistics with 3 tackles, while Trey Rominger, Trey Minton and Fletcher Cole provided valuable support and an interception for each of them.
Mitchell’s Robinson and England both had decent outings on the defensive side, recording 3.5 and 3 tackles, respectively. However, their efforts couldn’t stem the onslaught from Paoli’s offense in the second quarter.
By halftime, the score was 43-7 in favor of Paoli, marking a substantial lead. Mitchell had their work cut out for them in the second half, needing not only a defensive overhaul but also a significant offensive boost to stage any form of comeback. The cold wind was starting to blow in at this point, spelling the eventual doom for the Bluejackets.
In the third, the Rams kept their focus firmly on their ground game, amassing 94 yards on 10 rushes. The star of the quarter was once again Trey Rominger. With 89 yards on 7 carries, Rominger not only showcased his running prowess but also his scoring ability, recording both touchdowns of the quarter. One highlight worth mentioning was his dazzling 34-yard run which had the fans roaring.
Mitchell, unfortunately, couldn’t make any headway in the third quarter. Their rushing game faltered, resulting in a net loss of 5 yards. Gavin Robinson and Kale England, who showed some promise in the earlier quarters, found no room to operate, thanks to Paoli’s tight defensive setup.
This quarter also witnessed a lack of aerial action from both sides. Neither team managed to produce any net passing yards, which was the only weapon Mitchell had used successfully in the first half. Mitchell’s QB, England’s stats remained static, and no new entries appeared in the receiving department for either team.
On the defensive front, the Rams held strong, with Peyton Baker leading the charge with 2 tackles and a sack. Mitchell’s defense, spearheaded by Sven Lutchka’s 2.5 tackles, tried to resist, but the relentless attack from Paoli was hard to contain.
By the end of the third quarter, the Rams were comfortably ahead at 57-7. Their dominance was evident and a comeback was not likely as the Junior Varsity was able to get some reps in.
With the fourth quarter rolling in, and the second half moving on a rolling clock, the focus was moved to time management. While the Rams recorded 26 yards on 5 rushes in the fourth, the Blue Jackets managed to amass a net gain of 40 total yards, combining both their passing and rushing plays. Regardless, neither team was able to score in the final quarter.
For Paoli, Justin Thornton made the most of his lone carry, picking up 17 yards, while Dawson Guidry added 9 yards on his 4 attempts. On Mitchell’s side, Gavin Robinson had a notable rush of 16 yards. In the passing arena, Mitchell’s quarterback Kale England completed 2 out of his 6 attempts, totaling 24 yards, with Robinson and Ashton Luman each catching a pass.
Garret Hickman of Paoli stood tall defensively in the quarter, recording 2 tackles. For Mitchell, Seth Fountain was the standout player on defense, contributing 2.5 tackles.
The game was Paoli’s the whole way, and I don’t think that was a surprise going in. Mitchell did show signs of promise with their passing game. A lot of things just didn’t go their way and there was no way they were going to be able to stop Paoli’s rushing attack. Mitchell tried to attack Paoli’s Achilles heel, the passing game on defense. The long ball struck often for the Bluejackets in the first half, but the Paoli coaching staff led by Neil Dittmer made some good adjustments and shut down Mitchell’s passing attack the rest of the game.
Here are some the keys to game.
Dominant Offense: The Paoli Rams displayed sheer dominance throughout the game. With a whopping total of 624 yards, they outperformed the Mitchell Blue Jackets, who settled for 240 yards. Paoli’s balanced approach between passing and rushing was evident, but their rushing game was the game changer. I did like seeing Fletcher Cole getting more comfortable throwing the ball. He was on point and could be another weapon come sectional time for this already loading Rams offense.
Rushing Game: Paoli’s rushing game was stellar, gaining 540 yards on 46 carries (11.7 yards per carry) compared to Mitchell’s 36 yards on 17 carries (2.1 yards per carry).
Passing Game: Paoli was effective and efficient in the air. With QB Cole leading the charge, they managed 84 yards on 4 completions out of 5 attempts without any interceptions. His highlight was a 36-yard completion. On the other hand, Mitchell leaned heavier on the pass with 204 yards on 11 completions from 29 attempts but suffered from 3 interceptions.
Defense: Paoli showcased a formidable defense, creating turnovers (3 interceptions). The also shut down the Bluejacket run game. Mitchell’s defense had no answers for Paoli’s onslaught.
Possession Time: Mitchell held the ball longer (27:11) compared to Paoli’s 20:21. Yet, Paoli was far more effective, maximizing their scores during their possessions.
Mitchell Blue Jackets
Kale England: Despite the team’s struggles, he managed to complete 11 of 28 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown. He was a beacon of light for these Bluejackets, and a great football player. His performance just wasn’t enough to carry this team to victory.
Malakai Goodman: Proved to be a key player in receiving, he contributed 75 receiving yards and added another 45 yards in kickoff returns.
Gavin Robison: Impressive in both rushing and receiving with 42 rushing yards and 62 receiving yards.
Trey Rominger: The SISN Player of the Game, and Week 8 Southern Indiana Player of the Week, with a massive 354 rushing yards on 25 carries and 4 touchdowns.
Dane Padgett: Another strong performer with 121 yards on 8 carries, 2 touchdowns, and an additional 51 receiving yards.
Fletcher Cole: Showcased his versatility with 31 rushing yards, an efficient passing display, and a significant contribution in returns.
Cooper Spires: Leading the team’s defensive efforts with a total of 5 tackles, one of which was a solo effort. He also managed to break up one pass.
Trey Rominger: Made an impactful defensive contribution with a total of 5 tackles, 2 of which were solo, 1.5 tackle for a loss, and also contributed with a pass breakup and an interception.
Peyton Baker: Demonstrated his defensive prowess with a total of 2.5 tackles, including a sack that resulted in an 8-yard loss and 2 tackles for a loss amounting to 16 yards. He also forced 2 fumbles, emphasizing his role as a key playmaker on defense.
Fletcher Cole: While he also shone in other areas of the game, defensively he contributed with 2.5 tackles and an impressive interception which he returned for 19 yards.
Isiaih Apple & Tyler Hannon: Both players were involved in plays that resulted in tackles for a loss.
Paoli Rams Next Up: North Knox Warriors
As the regular season reaches its end, the Paoli Rams gear up to face North Knox in what promises to be a good bout of football. Hosted at the venerable Cook Field in Paoli, the stage is set for a showdown that could solidify Paoli’s position as a powerhouse this season.
Josh Chambers, who’s been at the helm for North Knox for nine years, boasts an almost even win-loss ratio with 48-43. His experience and expertise are undeniable. He will surely be strategizing to improve on the decent 5-3 record his team has achieved so far. On the other hand, Neil Dittmer, the comparatively newer head coach of Paoli, has managed an impressive 28-12 in his four years. Dittmer, with his dynamic coaching style, has been instrumental in bringing Paoli to its commendable 7-1 position this season.
The Sagarin ratings further underscore the potential intensity of this matchup. While Paoli leads with a rating of 54.03, positioning them 133rd overall and 16th in 2A, North Knox trails at 38.17, putting them 206th overall and 37th in 2A. Both teams come into this game off the back of resounding victories – Paoli’s dominant win over Mitchell (57-7) and North Knox’s convincing defeat of North Daviess (46-7).
While the opponents’ records are quite comparable, with North Knox at 29-35 and Paoli slightly trailing at 27-37, the historical series over the last 35 years shows North Knox leading 3-1. Fans can still recall last year’s nail-biting encounter, where North Knox narrowly edged out Paoli with a 23-20 win.
Given the recent performances and considering the strengths of both teams, one would expect a close contest. However, with home advantage and an improved lineup, Paoli seems to be the favorites. The prediction leans towards Paoli pulling off a victory with a scoreline of 35-17. While North Knox will surely put up a spirited fight, the Rams, under the leadership of Dittmer, might just have the edge to finish the regular season on a high.
We look forward to seeing you tonight for Senior Night at Paoli. Kick-off at 7:00 PM EST time. Please enjoy the photos below from the Paoli vs Mitchell game. Please like and share and give us a shout out if you use on your own social media. Thanks again to Rominger Farms for sponsoring us this season.