Clousing sparks WW South in opening win
By Chris Walker Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/19/2021 11:18 PM
One of the most exciting plays in high school football is the kickoff return.
Wheaton Warrenville South senior Kaleb Clousing electrified Red Grange Field in Friday’s long-awaited opener, returning a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown and hauling in a pair of touchdown passes to lead the Tigers to a 42-7 DuKane Conference victory over Lake Park.
“That was a momentum play and Kaleb played really well,” Tigers coach Ron Muhitch said. “He is the kind of kid that can make those plays.”
The Lancers had scored their lone touchdown 13 seconds earlier.
“We had a return right going and I caught it on the left side so it opened on the right side and I just took it right and headed up field running as fast as I could and I got there,” he said. “It felt really good. My guys blocked well for me and the hole just opened up and I took advantage.”
Lake Park (0-1) didn’t help itself by committing four turnovers in the opening half, but despite its inability to hold onto the ball, the Lancers only trailed 14-7 after Micah Flagg’s 2-yard run with 1:45 left in the first half.
“We also got stopped in the red zone twice on fourth down, gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown and a 40-yard punt return so that’s a recipe for disaster,” Lancers coach Jason Kradman said. “But yet it’s 14-7 with (1:45) before halftime and the next thing you know it’s 28-7.”
Wheaton Warrenville South (1-0) was able to get the ball back again before halftime and took advantage as quarterback Parker Brown connected with Clousing with a beautifully thrown 15-yard touchdown pass into the corner of the end zone for a 28-7 lead with just 6.7 seconds left in the half.
“We run that concept in practice all the time and Kaleb beat his guy,” Brown said. “We started off super slow, I guess you could say we were rusty, waiting for a year and whatever, but once we got going we just kind of clicked.”
Brown and Clousing would link up again in the third quarter as Brown utilized his athleticism to scramble in the pocket before finding a leaping Clousing for a 26-yard TD to make it 35-7 late in the third quarter.
“Me and Parker throw a lot together so our chemistry with all the guys is pretty good,” Clousing said. “I always trust him and have a good feeling that I know where the ball is going to be. We really click well together. His defensive teammates also played well together.
“They really didn’t do much against us,” Muhitch said. “Defensively we played well, yet as a guy who has coached a lot of defense, I think we can play better.”
Lance Kottke’s 10-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter put an exclamation point on the rout.