Yelm Completes Perfect Season in Imperfect Year With 28-7 Win Over Rams

By Eric Rosane / erosane@yelmonline.com
Posted 3/19/21

The Yelm Tornados’ 28-7 win against the North Thurston Rams on Friday night marked the program’s first undefeated season since 1938 and secured them top status in the 3A South Sound …

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Yelm Completes Perfect Season in Imperfect Year With 28-7 Win Over Rams

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The Yelm Tornados’ 28-7 win against the North Thurston Rams on Friday night marked the program’s first undefeated season since 1938 and secured them top status in the 3A South Sound Conference.

Yelm ended its shortened season with a perfect 6-0 overall record. The win represents the end of the line for the Tornados, with no postseason opportunities on the line due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Football fans for the first time this season were allowed into SSC facilities on Friday thanks to loosened social distancing guidelines.

The Tornados were looking for a shutout against the Rams (0-5) at South Sound Stadium, but came just short of that goal.

Rams quarterback Ray Parker, a sophomore, delivered four first-down drives and rushed the ball into the endzone to give his team their sole touchdown. Parker also had the only interception of the game.

The Rams were also able to slow down Yelm’s rushing attack after halftime and stunt the team’s strong running game.

Freshman running back Brayden Platt had another standout performance for Yelm. This time, he led in rushing with 140 yards over 13 carries. He scored two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion.

Senior running back Sean Rohwedder had 84 yards over eight carries in the first quarter before he was benched the remainder of the game for a minor leg injury.

Sophomore quarterback Kyler Ronquillo went two-for-three for 17 yards passing on a rainy day. He also rushed for 71 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns.

Lineman Ray Wright had 16 tackles on the night and ended his season with 65.

The Tornados have been chasing history since the start of the season with an ambitious goal to be undefeated in the SSC this year. Conference substitute 4A Olympia gave them a scare, along with SSC newcomer River Ridge, but Yelm was resilient with a high-horsepower rushing team and a formidable line.



This 2021 spring season will mean many things to many different coaches, but to Yelm head coach Jason Ronquillo, it means a lot.

“It means everything to me, but it means more to me for them because those guys are the ones that did it, those guys are the ones that played the games,” Ronquillo said. “I’m just standing on the sideline, freezing. They’re the ones balling out … I’m glad they get to have their names in the history books, and it sets a great and a very high standard for the next classes coming up.”

Yelm’s spring 2021 team is the first team to go a season without losing in 82 years, Ronquillo said. The team’s head coach then, Frank Bower, led the Tornados to a 8-0-2 season that year.

There have only been three one-loss teams in the program’s existence: 1927, 1937 and 1944.

Ronquillo said if his team had the opportunity to head back to state this season, there would be no doubt they’d make a deeper run for the 3A state title.

“They’ve set a high bar for this season and I’m sure all the younger guys that were part of the process are going to be hungry for it,” Ronquillo said. “It’ll be a quick turnaround — three months — then we’ll be back at it again, but I’m looking for it.”

Second-year Rams head coach Terry Shaw said he saw several positive moves for his team. Going into the second half, simply put, he said, “We were doing stuff, which is what we wanted.”

“I’m proud of our guys. I’m proud of our guys for our season, for coming out, and battling the whole time. And that’s all you can ask,” Shaw said of his young team. “You know, we dropped the ball here and there, unfortunately, we had a few bad breaks and that happens.”

North Thurston is currently rebuilding, Shaw said.

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