In a game featuring two of the best high school passers in the lower South Sound, the impact player early and late was a running back.
Yelm senior James Palmer powered for 149 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns to lead the Tornados to a 35-14 victory over Capital in Class 3A South Sound Conference play Friday night at Ingersoll Stadium.
Tornados quarterback Kyle Robinson threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns, both to Austin Osso.
In turn, the Yelm defense harassed Capital quarterback Grant Erickson all night.
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“Improvement comes from confidence, the continuity, the ability to finish games,” Yelm coach Jason Ronquillo said.
The Tornados (5-2, 4-1 3A SSC) bottled up Capital’s ground game, and while Erickson got his yards (18 of 30 for 242 yards), the Cougars were playing catch-up from early on.
“That was the plan — get him (Erickson) under duress, put some pressure on him,” Ronquillo said.
Yelm got an early boost from Palmer, who got his first touchdown first quarter on a 22-yard scamper. He found room over the left side, then powered through heavy traffic at the 5, and bounced into the end zone.
Yelm linebacker Derrick Platt thwarted an early Capital scoring opportunity. After a punt snap sailed over Robinson’s head, and compounded when Robinson drew a flag, the Cougars were set up at Yelm’s 11.
But, Platt dragged down Clayton Grady for a 5-yard loss, and then sacked Erickson for another 12 yards.
Yelm regained possession following an incompletion on fourth down. Then, Palmer found a crease up the middle, and outran the pack to the goal line for a 76-yard touchdown to give the Tornados a two touchdown advantage.
Yelm made it 21-0 when a scrambling Robinson found Osso for a 14-yard score.
Capital got on the board late in the first half. Erickson clicked on passes of 20 yards to Regan Divina and 34 yards to Isaiah Walker to set up Nate Tyler’s 7-yard touchdown run.
But Yelm answered when Robinson found Osso wide open deep, and the wide receiver beat the last defender at the 15 and tiptoed the left sideline to the end zone on a 79-yard scoring play.
Palmer’s third touchdown came on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Erickson found wide receiver Jack Collard for a 29-yard touchdown to close scoring.
Y – James Palmer 22 run (Cody Frye kick)
Y – Palmer 76 run (Frye kick)
Y – Austin Osso 14 pass from Kyle Robinson (Frye kick)
C – Nate Tyler 7 run (Carson Collard kick)
Y – Osso 79 pass from Robinson (Frye kick)
Y – Palmer 4 run (Frye kick)
C – Jack Collard 20 pass from Grant Erickson (C. Collard kick)