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.”
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“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
Aug. 22: Kentlake Falcons
Aug. 26: Black Hills Wolves
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
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
3A Narrows: Is that Xavier Cooper? Or Wilson’s A.J. Ruffin?
2A Evergreen: Team capsules
1A Nisqually: Team capsules. Story Saturday.
Small schools: Team capsules