The Yelm High School Football team defeated Gig Harbor 57-7 on Friday, October 27, 2023, capturing the WIAA 3A South Sound Conference Football Championship. Yelm will now focus on the playoffs as they host Kent-Meridian (4-5 NPSL) Friday, November 3, 2023 at 7 p.m. in week 10 action.
Gig Harbor (8-2, 6-1 SSC) came into the game with hopeful expectations to upend Yelm and looked strong with a first-possession hold of the Tornadoes. Unfortunately for the Tides, Yelm’s offense and defense seemed to adjust and increase their intensity for the rest of the first half with strong offense and stifling defense. After the first possessions, Yelm dominated the rest of the game with 3 first-half touchdowns and 179 first-half rushing yards from senior standout Brayden Platt. Platt didn’t run the ball in the second half.
Yelm head coach Jason Ronquillo praised his team’s work ethic and was proud of the win and championship for the program. “It is another great win for our program and the amount of work it takes to win at this level is so high so it just feels good to reap what you sow,” Ronquillo remarked about the win. “The focus now is to win one game at a time, just make it to the next round. Stats, playing time, score, all that goes out the window and doesn’t matter at all…just get to the next game is what our focus will be now.”
The win for Yelm was its fourth SSC league title in a row. The Tornadoes will look to stay strong as they possibly face other RPI top 3A teams like Arlington, Ferndale and O’Dea. Gig Harbor placed 2nd in SSC league play and will now host Marysville Pilchuck Saturday in Purdy.
Tides head coach Darrin Reeves applauded the strength of Yelm. “Yelm is the real deal and now we will regroup and focus on going 1-0 this week,” Reeves stated. “I am very thankful to have been in a situation to play for the league championship on the last game of the season and I am proud of our guys at Gig Harbor.”
Gig Harbor fought hard with strong throws from senior QB Benji Park. The Tides just couldn’t get a rhythm going and didn’t close for points on several chances in the first half only creating 61 yards of offense. One drive ended with a missed field goal.
Platt scored on runs of 6 yards, 17 yards and 20 yards for Yelm in the first half. Leading 14-0 Platt ran on 3rd for 35 yards setting up a dagger 26-yard touchdown pass from Tornado quarterback Damian Aalona to his brother Marius. That made the score 21-0. Yelm essentially put the game out of reach at that point and led 35-0 at the half.