People in Mid-Michigan refer to Elsworth as a hometown hero - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

People in Mid-Michigan refer to Elsworth as a hometown hero

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GOODRICH (WJRT) -

(01/02/14) - Goodrich native and Michigan State linebacker Kyler Elsworth is in the spotlight for the play that sealed the Spartan's Rose Bowl victory.

He's receiving high praise from his former high school football coaches. They're calling him a hometown hero.

They say even though he was under a lot of pressure, he overcame the challenge.

Late in the 4th quarter, Stanford faced a fourth and one when Elsworth flew over the top of the line and made the tackle that turned the ball back to the Spartans.

It's that kind of play that has people in the community talking.

"He's worked so hard to get to this point and to finally have an opportunity to show what he can do on such a stage as the Rose Bowl, it's just incredible," said Tom Alward.

Alward and his son Trevor coached the former Goodrich High School student.

The Michigan State senior got the start at middle linebacker in the Rose Bowl after team captain Max Bullough was suspended.

"It's unfortunate what happened to Max Bullough, but it's the next man up and that was Tyler and he rose to the challenge and accepted the challenge. My goodness, you saw the game, you saw what he did, it was a night to remember for the rest of his life," Tom said.

The fans ABC12 spoke with say they're impressed with the way Elsworth flourished under so much pressure. It's a lesson his coaches say he learned at Goodrich High School.

"When he set his mind to do something, he was able to discipline himself and he was willing to pay that price to make that dream come true," Tom said.

People in the community have posted signs in the small town congratulating Elsworth. His title as Rose Bowl Defensive MVP comes as no surprise to many.

"Everybody is so proud of you, we knew you could do it. You just needed your chance and you did it. All within a week," Trevor said.

Tom says he reached out to Elsworth through a text message, saying, "Good job Kyler." Elsworth's response was, "Thanks coach."

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