Eighteen miles down US-10 E, Midland Dow jumped out to a quick 14-0 first-quarter lead against Bay City Central at Engel Stadium.
The early edge for the Chargers (1-2) over the Wolves (0-3) propelled head coach Jason Watkins’ group to a 52-12 victory.
“We challenged the kids to come out and make plays,” Watkins said to MLive’s Lee Thompson. “Tonight, they did just that – and we get to celebrate a good win for a little bit before we get back to work.”
Senior wide receiver Nick Sierocki carried his team throughout the game with six receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He also added six carries for 75 yards and one score.
Sierocki’s first touchdown was on a direct snap for a five-yard score, giving his team a 7-0 advantage with 6:59 left in the first quarter. His next score put the Chargers ahead by 28 points on a 64-yard connection from senior quarterback Shane Astrike.
Prior to Sierocki’s second touchdown, a trick play called by Watkins put Brennan Doyle at quarterback. Once the ball was flipped to Doyle, he threw a 22-yard missile in the end zone to Chase Perry.
“We had a couple of those plays that Dow likes to pull out of our hat, and that helped get us out in front,” Watkins said. “When (Central) had to play from behind, that really played in our favor.”
Following Sierocki’s 39-yard touchdown reception from Astrike for a 35-0 lead, the Wolves finally found the end zone. Bay City Central quarterback Brian Elder took the ball up the middle, avoided a few tackles and found the end zone.
Dow owned a 35-6 lead at halftime, and the rest was history at Engel Stadium. Perry scored a rushing touchdown on a jet sweep and later earned a pick-six, while Evan Metiva added the other second-half score.
Going under the radar was Perry, making one reception for 22 yards, three carries for 57 yards and three total touchdowns – receiving, rushing and an interception.
Sierocki and Perry would not have been able to have a top-notch game on the road without their quarterback. Astrike was 10-for-13 for 230 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
Elder struggled for the third-straight week, completing 4-of-14 passes for 39 yards and two interceptions. His backup, Hayden Jatczak, was electric in a short amount of time. He threw for 38 yards and added a touchdown on a run play.
“We talked a lot about avoiding negative plays and not giving up on plays,” said Bay City Central coach Kevin Frederick. “We had too much of that again and that’s something we need to fix.”
Devell Washington, a Bay City Central junior, caught two passes for 18 yards. He was overthrown on multiple occasions. At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Washington has offers to play for Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and four others.
Running back Unique Houston rushed for 54 yards on 13 carries in the loss.
After back-to-back losses to Grand Blanc and Lapeer to start the season, Dow bounced back with a much-needed 52-12 victory against Bay City Central. As for the Wolves, they remain winless heading into Week 4 against an undefeated Mount Pleasant team.
“They didn’t forget the first couple of weeks, but they learned from it, and I was happy to see all of their hard work pay off tonight,” Watkins said.