Tornadoes continue winning streak with win over Southridge



By Jacob Dimond / [email protected]

In the first round of the 3A State Playoffs, No. 1 seed Tornados hosted No. 16 seed Southridge Suns in what turned out to be another blowout victory for Yelm, who picked up a win 51-7 on Saturday, November 12.

After winning the opening coin toss and opting to receive, the Tornados started with the ball on their own 21-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, senior Kyler Ronquillo took over and rushed behind linemen Tyler Blevins and Ami Fakava. Ronquillo carried the ball for 60 yards, before being tackled at Southridge’s 19-yard line.

Ronquillo’s number was called on the drive again, and the senior hit a seven-yard rushing touchdown, putting Yelm 6-0 after a two-run miss.

Solid tackles from senior Ray Wright and junior Landen Barger, and a pass breakup from junior Marius Aalona forced a quick Southridge three-and-out.

Back on offense near midfield, the Tornados were able to connect on a deep pass from junior Damian Aalona to Ronquillo for a 55-yard touchdown. Ronquillo totaled more than 110 yards of attack in the first quarter. After a successful two-point run by junior Brayden Platt, Yelm led 14-0.

Junior Isaiah Patterson and Platt each added their names to Yelm’s stat sheet. The dynamic junior duo each picked up a tackle near the line of scrimmage, and Barger picked up another tackle. Yelm forced another three and out.

The Tornados then put together a methodical eight-play drive, culminating in a quick one-yard touchdown by Wright. Yelm added to his lead with a two-point conversion on a Ronquillo rush, closing the first quarter 22-0.

After a big rush on the first down, the Sun’s rushing attack was immediately halted. After three consecutive rushes, they faced fourth-and-four, and threw an incomplete pass to return the ball on tries. Junior defensive lineman Kenji Scanlan pressured the quarterback during the game.

The Tornados had momentum built on a drive killed by penalties. They faced fourth-and-18, and kicked to pin Southridge on their own 21-yard line. Southridge had a good drive, but faced fourth and goal on Yelm’s 10-yard line. The Sun quarterback faked a handoff and rolled over to his left to run towards the end zone, but was met by senior Aden Schaler, who made the tackle.

Later in the quarter, Yelm’s offense found itself on the Sun’s only yard line. Platt was able to find the end zone for another touchdown, extending Yelm’s lead to 30-0 after a conversion from Tre Smith.

Senior Pavaan Bankston then intercepted a half-back pass to send both teams into their locker rooms for half-time.

Southridge was given the kickoff to start the second half but quickly turned the ball over after being stuffed with a fourth and short rush.

On their second play of the drive, Damian Aalona found Ronquillo passing his defenders for a 45-yard touchdown, Ronquillo’s third of the game. Yelm led 37-0 after a successful point from Jameson Patin after a touchdown kick.

Ronquillo continued his electric performance in the fourth quarter, when he collected his fourth and final touchdown of the game on a 23-yard run. Patin put another kick in the uprights and Yelm was ahead 44-0.

Southridge was able to score in the fourth quarter against the Yelm defense, as they collected a rushing touchdown from 46 yards, making it 44-7 after a successful PAT. At the ensuing kickoff, Schaler kicked off for 96 yards and a touchdown, extending Yelm’s lead even further and securing the 51-7 victory.

Offensively, Yelm totaled 447 yards including 198 through the air and 248 on the ground. Quarterback Aalona went eight for 13 for 172 yards and two touchdowns during the game. Ronquillo led the Tornados in total yards and touchdowns, with 269 total (126 rushing, 143 receiving) and four touchdowns (two rushing, two receiving). Platt had 10 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown, and Wright and Carreto each had multiple carries. Junior Onyx Carter had a reception for 22 yards and Wright had a reception for 20 yards.

Defensively, Carreto, Carter and second Chris Hauss led the team with seven tackles apiece. A three-time defensive MVP for the SSC, Wright had six tackles, and Barger and Patterson each had five.

Ronquillo is a firm believer that the work done by his team before their matches helps the team take advantage of opportunities on the pitch. The former South Sound Conference MVP and two-time SSC Offensive Player of the Year knows the importance of preparation during the playoffs.

“(We’ve studied) tons of movies in the theater to find errors in Southridge’s defensive lineup and plenty of practice rehearsals to make sure we’re capitalizing on opportunities,” Ronquillo said. “(This week) the team and staff will analyze the film and create a game plan. Our scouting team will replicate Kennewick’s offense and defense.

After the dominating win over Southridge, Ronquillo credited much of Yelm’s squad for playing unsung heroes in the win.

“Damian Aalona performed well, and I would also say the whole defense really rose to the challenge of stopping the T-wing,” Ronquillo said. “The offensive line also did a great job giving me big gaps to jump from the start.”

Next, Yelm will host the visiting Kennewick Lions at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 19 in the 3A State Quarterfinals. This is a 2019 3A State Playoff Round of 16 rematch where Kennewick defeated Yelm, 35-34, in overtime.

Source link


Comments are closed.