The Tornados were once again under the lights for a Thursday night game on Oct. 27 for their final game of the regular season as they traveled to Roy Anderson field to take on the Gig Harbor Tides, securing yet another victory with a score of 50-14.
Yelm entered the contest with an 8-0 record (6-0 SSC) while Gig Harbor entered at 6-2 (4-2 SSC).
Yelm won the opening coin toss and elected to receive, but was forced to punt after a penalty stopped a fourth and short conversion. Gig Harbor, now on offense, were forced to punt too after several first downs.
On fourth down and forever, sophomore Chris Hauss rushed up the middle and blocked Gig Harbor’s punt. Hauss, who celebrated his birthday Thursday night, scooped the ball at Gig Harbor’s 29-yard line and returned it for a touchdown. The Tornados led 6-0, after an unsuccessful two point try.
Following the special teams touchdown, the Tides put together a nine-play scoring drive when Will Landram ran in an eight-yard touchdown. After a successful kick, Gig Harbor led 7-6.
Trailing for the first time this season, the Tornados responded in the second quarter after stopping a Gig Harbor field goal attempt thanks to a botched snap.
After the stopped field goal attempt, the Tornados put together an eight-play scoring drive, capped off by a 19-yard Ray Wright touchdown. After a successful two point conversion, the Tornados were up 14-7.
Yelm seemed to be back on track as they scored four touchdowns during the second quarter. After a Gig Harbor three-and-out, the Tornados put together a quick four-play scoring drive, which started on their own 40-yard line.
Kyler Ronquillo got the drive started with an 11-yard rush as he hit a huge hole created by his offensive line up the middle. Then William Carreto carried the ball 47 yards up the middle before he was tackled on the two-yard line. On the next play, Ronquillo punched it in for a two-yard rushing touchdown and the Tornados extended their lead to 22-7 after a successful two point try.
After forcing another Gig Harbor three-and-out, the Tornados started with the ball midfield. On the first play of the drive, quarterback Damian Aalona received the snap and dropped back in the pocket, before unloading a deep ball downfield to Carreto, who caught the pass and scored a 49-yard touchdown. After an unsuccessful two point try, the Tornados led 28-7.
The Tornados’ defense came up big on fourth and three, forcing an incomplete Gig Harbor pass, which gave their offense a great starting field position. On Gig Harbor’s 46-yard line, Carreto found a crease behind two of his lead blockers, Kyle Kaaiwela and Ami Fakava, for a quick first down. Three plays later, Ronquillo took another handoff for a 16-yard score. The senior hit a hole created by linemen Tyler Blevins and William Snodgrass, giving Yelm a 35-7 lead going into halftime.
Gig Harbor was able to score on their opening drive of the second half when Will Landram found Gavin Nash wide open for a 20-yard touchdown pass. The Tornados remained in front 35-14.
The Tornados responded with a five-play, 32-yard scoring drive of their own. Wright took a handoff up the gut from one yard out for his second rushing touchdown of the evening to extend Yelm’s lead to 42-14.
The final touchdown of the game was a 42-yard passing touchdown from Aalona to his twin brother Marius Aalona. The junior quarterback threw a quick pass to his left, which was caught by his brother, who cut inside a Gig Harbor defender and turned on the jets as he cruised to the endzone. Following a successful two point try, the Tornados finished the game off with a score of 50-14.
The Tornados’ offense totaled 511 yards throughout the contest, with 327 rushing and 184 passing. Aalona finished the contest nine of 14 for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
Ronquillo totaled 171 all-purpose yards. The senior had 131 rushing yards on 12 carries for two touchdowns, and another two catches for 40 yards.
Carreto had over 130 all-purpose yards. The senior tallied 10 carries for 91 yards, and had one catch for 49 yards and a touchdown. Aalona had 60 receiving yards and a touchdown on three catches as well.
Wright had a strong rushing performance as he collected 57 yards on five carries, for two touchdowns.
Defensively, Wright led the Tornados with nine tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss. He was followed by Isaiah Patterson and Anthony Kiamco, who each had seven tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss.
The Tornados first playoff matchup will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4. The Tornados will host the Bishop Blanchet Bears. Bishop Blanchet enters the contest with a 4-5 record (3-5 in the Seattle Metro League). Yelm heads into the game with a 9-0 record and 7-0 in the South Sound Conference.
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