EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – East Lansing junior running back Jace Clarizio ran wild in the Trojans’ 42-20 regional championship victory over Byron Center, totaling 230 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
His stellar performance helped the Trojans bring home their first regional title since 2007 and earned him our 6 Sports Player of the Week honors.
As if winning a regional title wasn’t enough excitement for the week, Clarizio also received offers from Michigan State and Iowa State in the last seven days.
“I mean, it’s just a blessing you know?” Clarizio said. “I mean, you work hard for something and to achieve that, it’s a blessing. But yeah, I just want to thank my [offensive line] again. I couldn’t do it without them. You know, them lifting my chin up and all of that.”
It was a wild week, but Clarizio has garnered all sorts of attention and accolades all season long. Through it all, he’s remained quick to deflect attention away from himself and onto his teammates.
“I think he understands that within the context of the things we do, his offensive line has a lot to do with it,” said East Lansing head coach Bill Feraco. “He’s grown into the position. He’s a disciplined runner now and then once the crease opens, he takes advantage of it.”
This breakout season hasn’t been as easy as Clarizio has often made it look. Early in the season, he had to miss time while he dealt with a bone bruise and, a few weeks later, a hip flexor injury.
“It was definitely hard, you know?” Clarizio said of the injuries. “But I feel like it definitely put a chip on my shoulder and made me want to go out there and, you know, go harder. Just get back and prove myself to everybody.”
Clarizio’s speed has helped set him apart as one of the best players in the area. But in the game against Byron Center, Feraco said he was most impressed by the Clarizio’s strength.
“The threat of the explosive with him leading into that game, that was so prevalent,” Feraco said. “But then he got down and lowered his center of gravity on more than a half a dozen runs to push forward, always landing forward. It was great to see the yards after contact.”
The Trojans will face Muskegon in the MHSAA Div. 2 State Semifinals on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Greenville.
Clarizio and company will be looking to get the Trojans back to the state championship game for the first time since 2000.