Continuing the celebration after winning the 3A State Championship on Dec. 3, the Yelm football team gathered at the Yelm Crossroads Church to celebrate their historic season on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
“The overall feeling was a sense of accomplishment from everyone,” junior lineman Landen Barger said. “We finally reached the top and now it was time to celebrate and move on.”
The first award of the night, which was presented by senior captain Kyler Ronquillo, was for scout player of the year. Sophomore running back and linebacker Nekko Taylor received the honors for his hard work throughout the season by helping his varsity teammates prepare for their opposing competition.
The remainder of the awards recognized both a varsity and junior varsity player.
The second award category of the evening was to honor the special teams players of the year, which was presented by senior captain Ray Wright. Linebacker Nik Dejiacomo received the honors for the junior varsity, while linebacker and running back William Carreto received the honor for the varsity team.
Junior captain Brayden Platt then announced the recipients of the lineman of the year award. Platt first announced that sophomore offensive and defensive lineman Chris Hauss was the junior varsity recipient. Then it was announced that junior two-way lineman Barger, who was also voted as the South Sound Conference Lineman of the Year, received the varsity award for lineman of the year.
“For me to be honored as the team’s lineman of the year was a huge accomplishment for me because it’s like a shark tank between the linemen,” Barger said. “Everyone is hungry for the top but who is going to claim it.”
Barger, who was a junior captain this season for the Tornados, took the stage next to announce the recipients of the award for most inspirational players. Junior defensive back Jordan Lasher received the honors for the junior varsity, while junior defensive lineman Onyx Carter was named the varsity’s most inspirational.
Ronquillo was back on the stage to announce the recipients of the defensive MVP awards. Nathan Ford, a sophomore linebacker, received the honors for junior varsity while Wright, the three time South Sound Conference defensive MVP, received the varsity team honors for defensive MVP.
Wright was back to announce the winners of the offensive MVP awards, which included junior running back Anthony Kiamco taking home the junior varsity award, and Ronquillo taking home the honors for the varsity team.
The honor of overall team MVP was announced by Barger and was given to Platt. Platt finished the season with nearly 1,500 yards and 25 touchdowns on offense. Defensively, the All-American invitee finished the season with 69 tackles, one sack and an interception.
Several broken school records were shared during the banquet as well. Ronquillo broke the school record for most receptions in a career, finishing his journey as a Tornado with 150 catches.
Junior quarterback Damian Aalona broke two school records. He set the record for most passing touchdowns in a season at Yelm with 29. He also set the record for total touchdowns in a season with 31.
Defensively, Wright set the school record for most tackles in a season with 130 overall.
The Tornados championship celebration will continue on Monday, Jan. 23 with the team’s championship parade and celebration at Yelm High School. The celebration will start at 4 p.m. at the football stadium at the school.