By Racquel Muncy
Yelm football faced Bishop Blanchet High School last Friday night in the district match-up. The winner moved on to be seeded at state while the loser would end their season. The Tornados have not made it to state playoffs since 1987 and were looking to break that streak.
For as long as they can remember, several seniors on the team say Yelm is referred to as the team that “almost made it,” but this year they were determined to break the 31 year dry spell.
Yelm started the game fast and strong, quickly shaking off their bus legs. Within four minutes Derrick Platt found himself in the endzone for the Tornados. A successful point-after kick put Yelm up 7-0. Only a few minutes later Yelm was back in the endzone with Kyle Robinson scoring a rushing touchdown. Another successful extra point gave Yelm a two-touchdown lead.
“We started fast just like we wanted to and got to an early lead,” head coach Jason Ronquillo said. “The guys executed the game plan both offense and defensively and the errors were minimal. Nothing we couldn’t recover from.”
Going into the second quarter Bishop Blanchet got on the scoreboard early with a rushing touchdown. They quickly took possession once more and found themselves with another touchdown with just under a minute to go, tying up the game. With seconds to go Robinson completed a 66-yard pass to Kodee Gifford, giving them a seven-point lead going into the half.
The third quarter was a battle back and forth and with only a few minutes to go, Yelm scored a field goal, lengthening their lead to 24-14. These would be the last points scored of the game and the Tornados move on to state for the first time in 31 years.
Yelm will be facing Lakes High School this Friday, Nov. 9 at Lakes High School in Lakewood. The game starts at 7 p.m. Lakes was the number one seed coming out of the PCL conference with a 7-0 conference record, 8-2 overall. They faced Capital in their season-opener, where they lost 22-9. Yelm also faced Capital during the season in a conference match, where they won 41-27.
Lakes will be a formidable opponent, according to Ronquillo. They have a strong run game that uses various talented players and they attempt to overwhelm defenses by using multiple formations.
“I think the keys to winning is limiting their explosive plays and making them put together 10-15 play drives. We need to have a quality practice week and stay healthy,” Ronquillo said.
For the first round of playoffs tickets will be $10 normally, or $7 for those aged 5-11, 62 and over and those with valid ASB cards.