High School Sports

Yelm High School football’s offense rests on the legs of Brandon Thompson

Yelm junior running back Brandon Thompson participates during a preseason scrimmage Friday at Yelm High School. Thompson is expected to carry a large load for the Tornados this season.
Yelm junior running back Brandon Thompson participates during a preseason scrimmage Friday at Yelm High School. Thompson is expected to carry a large load for the Tornados this season. Staff photographer

A sly smile and a simple “yes” were very telling about what running back Brandon Thompson thinks he might be able to accomplish this season for the Yelm Tornados.

That was Thompson’s only response to a question regarding whether he can top last season’s fantastic numbers, where he racked up more than 1,200 yards and 10-plus touchdowns.

In 2015, the offense will still run through Thompson as it did the previous season. Tornados coach coach Jason Ronquillo gave an emphatic, “Oh, yeah” when that question was raised.

“His intelligence is really high. He has a high football IQ,” Ronquillo said. “His flat speed is — he’s the fastest kid on the team. He’s very athletic.”

“You don’t get a Brandon Thompson very often.”

Thompson will be key to Yelm improving on a 4-6 record last season that ended with a lopsided loss to North Thurston, 43-28, in the playoffs.

Thompson was quick to praise teammates for his success last season.

“The offensive line was big,” he said. “The play calling from Ronquillo helped, as did consistent quarterback play that opens things up for me.”

Yelm hosted a scrimmage Friday between the Tornados, Capital and Kelso.

Thompson didn’t see much work in the scrimmage, but that was by design. Ronquillo said he already knows what Thompson is capable of and was more interested in seeing how his passing game fared against a real opponent.

Quarterback Daylon Matthews returns as the starter this season. Ronquillo said his results were mixed during the scrimmages.

“He looked okay,” he said. “We knocked off a little bit of rust to start with, but he started to get into a groove. He threw for three touchdowns in a row during that last scrimmage. Once he got into a groove, he knocked off those butterflies a little bit.”

Ronquillo emphasized Yelm’s speed as its greatest strength, in addition to improved chemistry from the previous year. He said the team has simply spent more time together than they did a year ago.

Yelm’s season opens this Friday against Steilacoom.

The News Tribune will visit 17 high school football practices in the 14 days leading up to the first Football Friday of the season, breaking down some of the teams, players and storylines entering the 2015-16 season.

The tour will include three schools from the 4A Narrows League, four teams from the 4A SPSL, two from the 3A Narrows League, two from the 3A SPSL, one from the 2A Evergreen Conference, two from the 2A SPSL, one from the 1A Evergreen, one from the 1A Nisqually and one from the 2B Pacific.

Teams will be revealed each day, starting with the first day of official practices Wednesday, Aug. 19.

TNT PRESEASON PRACTICE TOUR

Practice preview: South Sound’s four most illustrious 4A schools enter new eras

Aug. 19: Timberline Blazers

Lincoln Abes | Video: Masaki Matsumoto on a mission

River Ridge Hawks

Chief Leschi Warriors

Aug. 20: Bonney Lake Panthers | Video: Panthers have pieces in place

Aug. 21: Federal Way Eagles | Video: D’Jimon Jones, Andrzej Hughes-Murray stepping up

Aug. 22: Kentlake Falcons

Aug. 24: Spanaway Lake Sentinels | Video: Big guys key for Sentinels’ season

Aug. 25: Emerald Ridge Jaguars | Video: Can new players bring ER similar success?

Aug. 26: Black Hills Wolves

Aug. 27: Stadium Tigers | Video: Don’t expect same 0-10 Tigers

Aug. 28: Yelm Tornados

Aug. 29: Clover Park Warriors

Aug. 31: Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds

Sept. 1: Eatonville Cruisers

Sept. 2: Charles Wright Tarriers

Sept. 3: Sumner Spartans

Sept. 4: First Football Friday of the 2015-16 school year

LEAGUE FOOTBALL PREVIEWS

In-depth look at some of the top storylines, team-by-team breakdown, games to watch and predictions from the 4A Narrows, 4A SPSL, 3A Narrows, 3A SPSL, 2A SPSL, and 1A Nisqually, as well as capsules from other area small-school teams.

State football overview: Dual-threat QBs have Auburn Mountainview, Gig Habor thinking state

Preseason TNT All-State football team: Graham-Kapowsin’s Foster Sarell on of nation’s top 2017 recruits

Preseason TNT rankings: Gig Harbor No. 2 in 4A, Auburn Mountainview third in 3A, Tumwater 2nd in 2A and Cascade Christian No. 3 in 1A

4A Narrows: Olympia will compete for playoff spot, like always

4A SPSL: UW commit Amandre Williams can do just about everything for Tahoma

3A Narrows: Is that Xavier Cooper? Or Wilson’s A.J. Ruffin?

3A SPSL: Lakes cousins Jaiave Magalei and Maika Magalei might as well be brothers

2A Evergreen: Team capsules

2A SPSL: Willie Patterson, Alex Bing can lift Franklin Pierce back to league title

1A Nisqually: Team capsules. Story Saturday.

Small schools: Team capsules

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