The Paoli Rams had a battle finish to their regular season last Friday, toppling North Knox with a 37-30 scoreline. I’ll delve into the game’s highlights, spotlight the stand-out players, and cast an eye on the Rams’ performance as the regular season came to a close. Additionally, we’ll explore the Rams’ upcoming sectional bout tonight, charting their potential journey to the Sectional championship title.
Looking ahead, the Rams are poised for another encounter with the underperforming Crawford County squad. The previous face-off saw the Rams steamrolling their opponents in a lopsided 50-7 triumph at Crawford County. History seems to be on the side of the Rams, as they’ve haven’t been beaten by the Wolf Pack in the last 17 games – a trend unlikely to be broken tonight. This time its at Cook Field in Paoli, with the game kicking off at 7:00 PM EST.
But shifting our focus back to the gritty North Knox face-off, it was a showdown the Rams were eagerly awaiting. After several weeks of an easier schedule, Paoli found their mettle tested against a North Knox squad of similar caliber. It was neck and neck till the final whistle, but the relentless Rams offense scored in all their drives but one.
While the Rams’ defense did concede points, their timely resurgence was pivotal. A game-defining moment unfolded at the onset of the fourth quarter: Paoli’s Cole Fletcher thwarted a touchdown by forcing a fumble from NK’s Carter Lemberg right on the goal line, also managing to reclaim the ball. Had Lemberg scored, the game would have been levelled.
From thereon, the Rams were in full throttle, sealing the victory.
Our Player of the Game was Trey Rominger, who delivered yet another stunner. Rominger racked up an impressive 225 yards from 31 carries and 4 touchdowns. Not only did he dominate offensively, but he also topped the game’s tackles chart with 9.5 tackles, including one for a loss.
Rominger’s regular season has been nothing short of a marvel. Boasting 1,837 rushing yards, he is ranked 12th nationally and fourth statewide. With 26 touchdowns this season, he’s also the state’s third-highest scorer. The season isn’t over yet, and Rominger is expected to continue his ascendancy on the national charts.
North Knox vs Paoli Rams Review
Team Statistics Breakdown:
Offensive Efficiency: Both teams heavily relied on their ground game. Paoli netted 418 yards on 53 attempts, slightly edging out North Knox’s 394 yards from 51 carries. This resulted in an impressive average gain of 7.9 yards per play for Paoli, compared to North Knox’s 7.5.
Passing Game: North Knox attempted a modest aerial assault, completing 1 of 5 passes for 27 yards. In contrast, Paoli stuck exclusively to their ground game, not attempting a single pass throughout the match.
Discipline: In terms of penalties, North Knox conceded 6 for a loss of 46 yards, while Paoli was slightly more disciplined, giving up 4 penalties for a loss of 34 yards.
Ball Control: Possession times were almost even, with North Knox holding onto the ball for just under 25 minutes and Paoli for just over 23 minutes. This nearly equal possession time reflects the closely contested nature of the match.
Conversions: In crucial third-down situations, North Knox had a slightly better conversion rate, making 5 of 9 attempts. Paoli managed to convert 2 out of 6. On fourth down, both teams showed efficiency, with North Knox converting both of their attempts and Paoli succeeding in 2 of 3.
Special Teams: On kick returns, Paoli had the edge with an average return of 24.4 yards, compared to North Knox’s 13.8.
Scoring Drives Breakdown:
The game began with North Knox establishing an early lead with a 60-yard run by Caleb Bottum. But the Rams responded quickly, with Trey Rominger making a 1-yard touchdown, followed by a successful rush attempt. Not to be outdone, Carter Lemberg from North Knox made a 38-yard touchdown, but a blocked kick kept the score tight. Paoli then took the lead with Cole Fletcher’s explosive 60-yard run
The second quarter saw more action, with Rominger further extending Paoli’s lead with a 3-yard touchdown. As halftime approached, North Knox managed to inch closer with a 32-yard field goal from Ian Fredrick.
In the third quarter, North Knox’s Brennan Messel tied the game with a 1-yard run, but Rominger, undeterred, once again pushed Paoli ahead with another touchdown.
The final quarter was exhilarating. Rominger showcased his prowess with a 55-yard touchdown run. However, North Knox showed their resilience with Messel scoring yet again. But ultimately, Paoli managed to hold their lead till the end.
Top Offensive Players:
Paoli: Trey Rominger was undoubtedly the star, racking up an awe-inspiring 225 yards on 31 carries with four touchdowns. Cole Fletcher and Dane Padgett also added significant yardage, with Fletcher notching up a notable 60-yard run.
North Knox: Carter Lemberg was the standout with 180 yards on 26 carries, followed closely by Caleb Bottum with 119 yards.
Top Defensive Players:
Paoli: Apart from his offensive heroics, Rominger also led the defensive efforts with 9.5 tackles. Close behind were Cole Fletcher with 6 tackles and a crucial forced fumble, and Isaiah Apple contributing 5.5 tackles.
North Knox: Korbin Jones was at the forefront with 8 total tackles. Kaleb Archer and Carter Lemberg also put in solid performances, tallying 7 and 6 tackles, respectively.
Paoli Rams 2023 Regular Season Breakdown
Paoli displayed an exemplary performance throughout the season, claiming 8 major wins. Their dominant performances were evident in their crushing victory over Corydon Central with a score of 37-0, as well as decisive triumphs against Springs Valley, Perry Central, West Washington, Eastern Greene, Crawford County, Mitchell, and North Knox. The offensive unit consistently managed to put up high numbers on the scoreboard, while the defense made it tough for their opponents.
Despite their remarkable record, Paoli experienced a setback against 4A Boonville, registering a 16-26 loss.
Paoli’s offense has been a force to be reckoned with this season. They accumulated an impressive 3,741 yards in total, averaging 415.7 yards per game. Their rushing attack, in particular, stood out, amassing 3,449 yards with an average of 383.2 yards per game. The passing department contributed an additional 292 yards. Notably, Paoli managed to average a significant 42.1 points per game.
On the defensive front, Paoli showcased their tenacity by limiting their opponents to an average of just 15.2 points per game. This metric underscores their defensive might and the challenges they posed to rival offenses. The defensive stats are commendable with 9 forced fumbles, 9 recoveries, and 9 interceptions. Opponents were restricted to 655 passing yards and 1,572 rushing yards for the season.
- ROMINGER,TREY: The backbone of the offensive unit, he rushed for a remarkable 1,815 yards, averaging 201.7 yards per game, and contributing 26 touchdowns.
- PADGETT,DANE: A pivotal player, Dane rushed for 635 yards, averaging 70.6 yards per game. Additionally, he recorded 106 receiving yards.
- COLE,FLETCHER: Proving his versatility, Fletcher garnered 518 rushing yards and passed for 292 yards, cumulatively averaging 90.0 yards per game.
- MINTON,TREY: Beyond his 242 rushing yards, Trey was also a key receiver with 84 yards to his name.
- SPIRES,COOPER: Cooper added value with 76 rushing yards and a notable 57 receiving yards.
- ROMINGER,TREY: A dual-threat, Trey led the defense with 55 total tackles, 7 of which were for losses, and forced 2 fumbles.
- MINTON,TREY: An integral part of the defensive lineup, he registered 35.5 tackles and managed 2 interceptions.
- REYNOLDS,JAXSON: His presence was felt with 27.5 tackles, 5.5 for losses, and a sack.
- APPLE,ISAIAH: Isaiah contributed significantly with 26 tackles, 4 being for losses, complemented by 2 fumble recoveries.
- COLE,FLETCHER: Apart from his offensive input, Fletcher stood out defensively with 25.5 tackles and 2 key interceptions.
We look forward to Paoli’s upcoming games, and wish them well on their chances. I do have a lot of photos to work through from the North Knox game, but I haven’t had the chance to work through them all. Hopefully I will get the up soon.