Breaking News
More () »

Prep Zone: Yelm football just one win away from first state championship

The Tornados will face off against one of Washington's best football programs as it seeks the school's first state title.

YELM, Wash. — The gateway to Mount Rainier may seem quiet, but the city of Yelm is buzzing with pride.

In the state semifinals, Yelm High School's football team scored the game-winning touchdown with just 35 seconds to play. 

The top-ranked Tornados will now play for the 3A state title. 

"It's nothing no one around here has seen before, ever, and I'm truly blessed to be a part of it," said Yelm offensive lineman Landen Barger. 

"It means absolutely everything to me, I've been working with these boys my entire life, I mean, it's the world to me," said Yelm running back and linebacker Ray Wright. 

"It's an important milestone, everyone is happy, we've worked so hard to get to this point, it's great to see our dreams come to reality, it's good for the community, it gives people something to do and look forward too," said wide receiver and defensive back Kyler Ronquillo.

Ronquillo, a Portland State commit, has been around Yelm football for a while. His dad has been the head coach for a decade. 

"I come home from the game on Saturday and I'm ear to ear smiling, this town is really coming together for these kids, it's been a lot of fun," said head coach Jason Ronquillo. 

Junior Brayden Platt is a big reason why, as he is both one of the nation's top linebackers and one of the best running backs on the west coast.

He rushed for over 20 touchdowns this season and is arguably the top two-way prospect in the state. The All-American Bowl selection has offers from Michigan, Washington, and Oregon, among others. He also has three older brothers that played for Yelm. 

"It's really special to me and my family, with all three of my brothers in the program, slowly making it further and further and changing the culture for players like me, it's been very special," Platt said. 

"He's constantly trying to make himself a better athlete , so when you personally make yourself better as an individual, you are going to ultimately make your team better," Coach Ronquillo said.

When Platt is not scoring touchdowns, he also wrestles, and he loves to throw the javelin, discus, and shot put. 

In fact his ultimate dream is to one day compete in the Olympics, and to play in the NFL. 

"Growing up you start to realize it's achievable, it's an achievable dream," said Platt. "I've been in this game long enough that you see young kids from time to time and I could count on one hand the kids I've seen that could play on Sundays, he's one of them," said coach Ronquillo. 

"Eighth-grade year I started track, I was kind of good at it, so I was like, I should take this seriously," said Platt. 

Take it seriously he did, as last year Brayden won a state title in the shot put, and finished 2nd in the nation in the javelin. Right now, however, he's only aiming for one thing, a state football title.

This season, Yelm is 13-0 and Eastside Catholic is 12-0. They'll play for the 3A title on Saturday at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, WA at 12:00.

Before You Leave, Check This Out