CLARKSVILLE – Paoli went to old school football on Friday night. Using physical ground play, the Rams beat host Providence 28-14 in a Section 39 Class 2-A semifinal game.
Providence (5-6) and Paoli were tied 14-14 at the end of the third quarter as the Rams’ Carson Little climbed up the middle, decoupling 54 yards for the forward touchdown with 1:44 in the third quarter.
Paoli (7-2), who will play at Triton Central for the section championship next week, sidelined the game early in the fourth quarter. Driving 53 yards in six plays, Billy Rominger scored on a 21-yard play with 8:35 left to give Paoli a two touchdown advantage.
“It was a tough game. Our guys played as hard as they could, ”said Providence coach Daniel McDonald. “They left everything on the pitch. I was extremely proud of the effort.
Each team scored touchdowns early in the third quarter as Rominger scored by one yard with 8:08 for a 14-7 lead. The Pioneers returned straight away with a 74-yard run in five games when second-year quarterback Carter Lannon connected with Cade Unruh for a 35-yard touchdown with 6:16 left in the third to tie the game. 14-14.
Rominger, a sophomore, finished with 187 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns.
“He’s a load,” McDonald said. “He’s running hard. He runs in anger. He’s a very impressive running back and he showed it tonight.
Paoli didn’t pass a pass in four attempts, but his ground game took over.
“They just get three, four yards on the fly and have you play mission football, which the great options teams do,” said McDonald. “They are the best in the area to do it. They will put you to sleep to fall asleep, the pop will be a big gain for you.
Providence struck first, winning the first kickoff 67 yards in seven games. In fourth place against the Rams’ 20, Lannon hit a wide-open Brian Wall in the left corner for a touchdown with 8:26 left in the first quarter.
Paoli came back straight away with a 62-yard drive in 13 games as Rominger scored on two yards to tie the score at 7-7 with 2:06 in the first quarter.
The Rams threatened just before halftime to take over in their own nine behind the wheel of the Pioneer Four. With less than a second on the clock, Rominger took over and ran to the right where the Providence defense stopped him two yards from the goal line.
“We are a first racing team,” said Paoli coach Neil Dittmer. “We didn’t get the throws early so we adapted to the running game. Rominger is a guy who wears you out. Her legs never stop. It will just keep plugging in.
Paulo. 7. 0. 14. 7 – 28
Providence 7. 0. 7. 0 – 14
SUMMARY OF RATING
PR – Brian Wall, 20 assists from Carter Lannan (Mason Raes kick).
PA – Billy Romlinger, 2 points (Chris Nunez kick).
PA – Romlinger, 1 point (Nunez kick).
PR – Cade Unruh, 35 passes from Lannan (kick from Raes).
PA – Carson Little, 54 points (Nunez kick).
PA – Romlinger, 21 points (Nunez kick).