Dow & Bay City Central will take the field at Engel Stadium on Friday. Listen LIVE on ESPN 100.9-FM beginning at 6:30pm.
For two programs with a combined 610 wins in all-time history and both coming off playoff appearances last season, the Midland Dow Chargers and Bay City Central Wolves are each 0-2 to start 2018.
At 7 p.m. on Sept. 7, the two Saginaw Valley League Blue teams square off, and one team will earn its first win of the season at Engel Stadium.
Bay City Central has two of the most well-known SVL players in senior quarterback Brian Elder and junior wide receiver Devell Washington. For Dow, the headline surrounds senior wide receiver Nick Sierocki.
The Wolves, playing at home in Week 3, lost its season-opener to Frankenmuth, 35-12, and were blanked in its Week 2 matchup against Muskegon Mona Shores, 35-0. The Chargers fell 38-35 to Grand Blanc and 31-19 against Lapeer in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively.
Bay City Central gave up the ball four times – three fumbles and one interception – against Mona Shores.
“Every time we had a drive going, turnovers killed us,” Frederick said to MLive’s Lee Thompson. “Obviously, there’s no good time to have a turnover, but we had a lot of untimely ones.
“But we actually moved the ball as the game went on and I felt like we had a better understanding of the offense. That’s something we can build on.”
Putting up 22 receptions for 484 yards and seven touchdowns a season ago, Washington’s recruitment burst on the scene this past summer. He picked up offers from Central Michigan (April 5), Toledo (April 13), Western Michigan (June 6), Cincinnati (June 10), Michigan (June 18), Ohio State (June 25) and Michigan State (July 31).
Head coach Kevin Fredrick said the most impressive attributes of Washington are his attitude and catchability.
“Devell is a game-changer,” Fredrick said. “He looks and plays the part of a potential all-American football player. He’s great with his teammates.”
Washington is now a three-star prospect, ranked No. 453 in the nation, No. 85 at wide receiver and No. 10 in Michigan, according to 247Sports Composite. Through his first two weeks, he’s managed nine receptions for 49 yards.
The only reason Washington manages to make receptions is due to Elder – his quarterback. Standing at 6-foot-5, the senior has the ability to check coverage over the defensive line. At 230 pounds, Elder is able to take a hit and fall forward for positive yards.
Bay City Central’s most hurtful departure was star running back Dequez Weathers, who left after the 2017-18 school year because of graduation. He produced 122 carries for 737 yards and six touchdowns in an injury-plagued senior campaign.
Now, it’s time for junior running back Unique Houston to fill his shoes.
Last season, Houston ran for 337 yards and five touchdowns in a backup role to Weathers. Through two games this year, he has 22 carries for 96 yards.
In an attempt to match Washington and Houston’s offensive contributions, the Chargers will look for Sierocki. The 6-foot, 190-pound senior has the potential to wreak havoc into opposing defenses with his ability to run after the catch.
Dow head coach Jason Watkins will also roll out senior wide receivers Chase Perry, Zack Coon and Kaleb Studebaker. The starting running back is slated to be Avain Rivera, a junior who is an outside linebacker, defensive end hybrid on the other side of the ball.
Nonetheless, the offense remains in the hands of senior quarterback Shane Astrike. Facing Grand Blanc in Week 1, he was flushed out for four interceptions. Against Lapeer, Astrike was 22-for-38 with 334 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He added 16 carries for 34 yards and two scores.
Bay City Central pulled out a 22-21 win against Midland Dow in 2017. Weathers ran to the one-yard line on his final carry of the game, allowing Elder to sneak into the end zone on a quarterback keeper. Austin Welter’s point-after-attempt flew through the uprights, giving the Wolves the victory.
Despite losing last time out, Dow owns an 18-16 all-time record against Bay City Central.