The 2022 3A state champion football team gathered on the morning of Monday, March 27, to celebrate their historic season one final time as they received their championship rings at Yelm High School.
Yelm defeated Eastside Catholic, 20-13, on Dec. 3 in Puyallup to earn the first state championship in the program’s history.
Yelm High School Principal Curtis Cleveringa congratulated the team for everything they accomplished last season.
“I hope you’ve all been enjoying the last couple months. It’s flown by,” Cleveringa said. “The gentlemen in this room changed Yelm forever, so congratulations.”
Cleveringa said the rings and championship sweatshirts were provided by Jostens, which also supplies seniors at Yelm High School with graduation caps and gowns, but they were paid for by local businesses.
“This is a memento that you will keep and it will bond you guys forever, so congratulations. Enjoy the moment,” Cleveringa said. “This may be the last time you’re all in the same room together.”
Yelm Head Coach Jason Ronquillo said the support from the community has been outstanding.
“It lets us know that people are behind us, and supporting us 100%,” Ronquillo said. “They want to keep the ball rolling just as we do.”
Ronquillo added it felt great to get the rings and noted the ceremony was a fun experience.
“We got to relive the moment and got an opportunity to see all the kids back in one room again,” Ronquillo said. “It might be the last moment we all get to see each other again, so it was nice to get together and relive that moment one last time.”
After bringing Yelm High School its first state championship in football, Ronquillo said the team has crashed through its glass ceiling and created a new standard for the football program.
“It’s never easy, but at least we know it’s obtainable,” Ronquillo said. “We’ll be striving for it every year.”
During the state championship game, Yelm entered with the No. 1 seed in the 3A state tournament as they faced No. 2 seed Eastside Catholic.
The game was won by Yelm with less than a minute left when Kyler Ronquillo, a senior who has since committed to play at Princeton University, snatched the ball out of the hands of his opponent to bring it into the end zone untouched at a packed Carl Sparks Stadium.
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