KALAMA — La Center coach John Lambert knew his Wildcats could run the ball, but he wanted to see how they would fare throwing on Thursday.
The answer was pretty well.
Quarterback Tru Feldman threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns, and Levi Giles and Davari Grauer shined on the receiving end as the Wildcats rolled to a 49-24 win over Kalama in a non-league game on Thursday.
“We’re getting better,” Lambert said. “We’ve got some young guys in important spots, and so we’re improving. After we collapsed in that third quarter in the first week (against Hockinson), we got better last week, and we’re trying to do more each week.”
Lambert said he was looking to build some confidence in Feldman, a sophomore, in the passing game.
“We tried to keep it simple, one-step reads,” Lambert said “Things speed up when you’re young and quarterback. So we try to slow it down, and it worked great.”
After a sluggish first quarter, the spark that got the Wildcats going in the second quarter was a 33-yard reception by Giles, in which he was able to reach back behind the defender to make a juggling catch at the 2-yard line.
“We were running a hitch over here, and I saw (Feldman) scrambling, so I went deep,” Giles sadi. “I made the catch. I don’t know how I made the catch. But I thought it was a touchdown, so I ran in. But it was fun.”
Giles would later add a 14-yard touchdown reception. Grauer caught a pair of 58-yard receptions, including one for a touchdown on the final play of the first half. Grauer would leave the game with a leg injury in the second half.
“Davari said that was the first heavy action he’s seen,” Lambert said. “So it was really nice to see him play well. He’s limping around a bit, but we hope it’s nothing too serious.”
Lambert said he’s been spoiled with experienced quarterbacks in recent seasons — Darren Cepeda last year and his son, Tom, in the three seasons before that. So the progress of Feldman will be pivotal to the Wildcats’ success this year.
“I reminded the kids that in Tom’s first start as a sophomore, we lost to Ridgefield 19-0,” Lamber said. “We didn’t score. And Tom was not the quarterback he ended up being his junior and senior years. We’ve seen some growth in our young guys, so I’m happy about that.”
- La Center’s Jalen Ward rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw a touchdown pass on a halfback option to Colby Hylton in the fourth quarter.
- Lane Roberts saw some carries for the Wildcats, rushing for 36 yards. The senior also blocked a punt.
- Kalama sophomore quarterback Aiden Brown continued to make strides, passing for 221 yards and three touchdowns.
- La Center (2-1) gets nine days to get ready for a home non-league game against Connell on Sept. 24.
- Kalama (0-3) gets a bye next week before opening league play at home against Stevenson.
LA CENTER 49, KALAMA 24
La Center 7 22 6 14—49
Kalama 0 8 8 8—24
LC — Jalen Ward 14 run (Ben Rembisz kick)
K — Jaxxon Truesdell 35 pass from Aiden Brown (Ethan Brightbill pass from Brown)
LC — Ward 2 run (Ward run)
LC — Levi Giles 14 pass from Tru Feldman (Rembisz kick)
LC — Davari Grauer 58 pass from Feldman (Rembisz kick)
LC — Rembisz 27 FG
LC — Rembisz 27 FG
K — Chase Leigh 44 pass from Brown (Kaden Stariha pass from Brown)
LC — Colby Hylton 11 pass from Ward (Rembisz kick)
K — Stariha 27 pass from Brown (Brown run)
LC — Garrett Maunu 9 run (Rembisz kick)
RUSHING – La Center: Jalen Ward 14-73, Tru Feldman 6-15, Levi Giles 4-29, Lane Roberts 3-36, Isaac Chromey 1-3, Garrett Maunu 3-35; Kalama: Hayden Lawson 3-41, Aiden Brown 6-29, Luke Davidson 4-16, Drew Schlangen 4-13.
PASSING — La Center: Tru Feldman 13-21-0-279; Jalen Ward 1-1-0-11. Kalama: Brown: 14-37-2-221.
RECEIVING — La Center: Davari Grauer 3-136, Levi Giles 5-76, Garrett Maunu 2-11, Tyler Normine 1-35, Jalen Ward 1-18, Colby Hylton 2-14. Kalama: Chase Leigh 2-46, Drew Schlangen 3-14, Jaxxon Truesdell 3-46, Ethan Brightbill 4-97, Kaden Stariha 2-26.