Senior quarterback Kaden LaPlaunt poses for a portrait while teammates run drills during practice Wednesday at Granite Falls High School. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Senior quarterback Kaden LaPlaunt poses for a portrait while teammates run drills during practice Wednesday at Granite Falls High School. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

QB Kaden LaPlaunt brings invaluable leadership to Granite Falls

The senior is taking the Tigers to new heights since returning to his hometown school.

Kaden LaPlaunt has been more than an ideal fit at quarterback since arriving at Granite Falls High School last spring.

The 6-foot-2 senior has helped stabilize the Tigers’ offense, and, as a result, Granite Falls has re-emerged as a contender in the Class 1A Emerald Sound Conference this season.

After ending a 31-year state playoff drought in 2021, the Tigers struggled through a 2-8 season last fall. With LaPlaunt at the helm, Granite Falls is right back in the thick of playoff contention.

LaPlaunt, who transferred to Granite Falls after sharing quarterback duties at Lake Stevens early last season, has helped the Tigers to a current five-game winning streak and a 5-1 mark this fall. Granite Falls (2-0 league) sits one-half game ahead of King’s (6-0, 1-0) in the conference standings.

“He’s a leader,” sixth-year head coach Brandon Davis said. “He not only makes himself and everybody else on the field better, but he makes us as a coaching staff better. He holds people accountable, he expects excellence and he helps everyone compete. Whether it’s in the weight room or watching film, he’s just brought a mentality that you really can’t replace, and it’s rubbed off on everyone here.”

LaPlaunt has compiled 1,193 passing yards through six games with 17 touchdowns to just one interception, completing 54.5% of his passes.

The success in the in the win column and on the stat sheet is only a bonus for LaPlaunt after making the decision to transfer back to his hometown school before graduating.

“Coming over here was more about playing my senior (year) with a lot of the guys I grew up with,” LaPlaunt said. “I grew up in Granite Falls and I’ve lived here most of my life. So, coming back was more about having a fun season with the guys I grew up with. When I made that decision, I started putting in work with a lot of the receivers and linemen and building chemistry with some guys I haven’t played with in a really long time.”

Senior quarterback Kaden LaPlaunt, center, talks to teammates between drills during Wednesday’s practice in Granite Falls. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Senior quarterback Kaden LaPlaunt, center, talks to teammates between drills during Wednesday’s practice in Granite Falls. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Davis knew about LaPlaunt’s capabilities as a playmaker through 7-on-7 scrimmages in the past when LaPlaunt was still in a Vikings uniform, as well as his talent as a high jumper at track meets.

“The first time I saw him compete was in track,” Davis said. “His athleticism stood out then, and I was actually lucky enough to go and catch a couple of games when he was at Lake Stevens in years prior. When he got here, it was kind of eye-opening how athletic and talented he really was. As the Spring progressed, you could really see his leadership stand out and that it was clear that he was going to be that guy that was gonna do something special for us this season.”

LaPlaunt has developed a quick and easy connection with the Tigers deep senior receiving corps this fall, with 6-foot-3 senior Jonathan Roberts as a lead target recording team-highs of 23 catches, 404 yards and seven TDs.

James Porter (five receiving touchdowns), along with running back-receiver combo Bradley Kehoe have grabbed 13 receptions apiece. Gino Howard, a sophomore, has caught nine.

Senior quarterback Kaden LaPlaunt practices Wednesday at Granite Falls High School. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Senior quarterback Kaden LaPlaunt practices Wednesday at Granite Falls High School. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

“Being a quarterback is easy when you have good receivers,” LaPlaunt said. “… Having three or four dudes like that, who I know I can trust to catch the ball, get open and make plays for me out there, it makes it really easy.”

With postseason play inching closer, the Tigers face off against Vashon Island on Friday for a non-league game ahead of a Week 8 battle with defending Emerald Sound champion King’s on Oct. 20.

“Looking for 1-0 in every week is how I like to say it,” LaPlaunt said. “It’s easy to look towards the playoffs and stuff like that, but you really gotta focus about what’s in front of you, the task in front of you, and that’s how we’ve been wanting to go about it. Once we step over those obstacles and we get to where we want to be, the playoffs is obviously the goal and a conference championship is a goal too. But, as we’ve been progressing, we’ve just been thinking about it like that.”

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