Clawson's 5 TDs help Hersey defeat Elk Grove

By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/16/2021 11:00 PM

Trailing visiting Elk Grove 14-7 with less than one minute left in the first half, it looked like host Hersey was in for a real dogfight with the Grenadiers Friday night in Mid-Suburban League football action.

But 35 unanswered points later, the Huskies rolled to an impressive 49-21 MSL East victory over shellshocked Elk Grove as Hersey junior running back Ben Clawson (180 yards on 17 rushes) had his second 5-touchdown game of the 2021 spring football season.


Hersey (3-2) struck quickly on its opening drive as Josh Bontje (65 yards on 11 rushes) scored on a 17-yard touchdown run about a minute and a half into the contest.

The Grenadiers (1-4) deadlocked the score at 7-7 when senior Josh Bilodeau picked off a Jimmy Makuh pass and raced 33 yards for the touchdown.

Elk Grove senior Ian Ridge (122 yards on 36 carries) was a workhorse for the Grens with 16 carries from the wildcat formation in the first quarter alone.

The Grenadiers went ahead 14-7 when quarterback Joe Gaskill pump faked and hit teammate Sebastian Halilovic in stride for a 60-yard scoring play with 51.5 seconds left in the second quarter.

But Hersey proceeded to march 63 yards on its ensuing possession as Clawson caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Makuh in the right corner of the end zone in heavy traffic just 4.4 seconds before halftime to tie the score at 14-14.

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The Huskies owned the third quarter as a 5-yard touchdown run by Clawson, an 8-yard touchdown run by offensive lineman Ryan Gudaitis on a trick play, and an 8-yard touchdown run by Clawson made the score 35-14.

"We're a young football team, but I thought we came out in the second half with a different mindset than we had the last two weeks, so that was big for us," said Hersey coach Joe Pardun, whose team starts 17 juniors. "He (Clawson) is a captain not because of skill, he's a captain because of the way he executes and works, so I'm really proud of him tonight."

Clawson's 5-yard touchdown run capped the 35-point run before Ridge scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 7:56 to play. Clawson caught a 27-yard touchdown pass to close out the scoring. Max McCall had 7 extra points for Hersey.

"It was definitely a tough first half. We had a great talk in the locker room. The defense played great, and the offense turned it up in the second half," Clawson said. "My coaches give me a lot of chances to make plays, and I have to make the plays for them no matter where they put me. I have to make the plays."

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