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Saginaw Valley Grid Race Shakeout Seen in Key Thursday Night Games

Central-Midland, Western-Dow Tilts Highlight Schedule; Garber is at Vassar

August 29, 2007       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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It's Midland week!

Bay City's two grid squads meet the pair of Midland football teams in the Saginaw Valley league on Thursday night.

The top tangle may be in Engel Stadium that may be the scene of an aerial circus with two top quarterbacks flinging passes.

Central entertains always dangerous Midland Chemics in Engel Stadium while Western travels to Midland Dow.

In other local games covered by the GRAFF HIGH SCHOOL GRID REPORT:

  • Garber is at Vassar;

  • Pinconning is at Sanford Meridian;

  • All Saints is host to Reese.

    John Glenn's Bobcats are off this week, returning to the gridiron Friday, Sept. 7, with the Tawas Braves at home. Glenn topped Cadillac in their opener last Thursday at home, 35-6 with a tough defense and senior back Chris Schumann bulling for three TDs.

    The powerful Saginaw Valley League is loaded with talent this year with Flint Southwestern Academy, Mt. Pleasant and Saginaw Heritage joining the two Bay City school district teams in the opening week win column.

    A shakeout is inevitable in Engel Stadium Thursday night when Midland's ace passer Andrew Maxwell faces off against Central's Alex Bush, both with virtually identical 60 percent passing completion records from their first games.

    League statisticians booked Midland's Maxwell with 16 completions in 27 attempts for 179 yards and Central's Bush with 9 connections in 15 tries for 114 yards.

    Bush holds a slight edge in fractional percentage and hit for two touchdowns compared to one for Maxwell.

    Mt. Pleasant's William Arnold leads the Valley in passing percentage and yardage, pending Flint SW stats not yet in, with 11 passing completions in 18 attempts for 311 yards and a 61 percent average as the Oilers trounced Midland 43-23 in their first win ever at Midland.

    Central's Luther Ware has 73 yards in 12 attempts and a 6.1 yard per carry average. Wolfpack QB Bush is not far behind with 5.3 yards per carry on 12 rushes for 64 yards.

    Midland's Joel Parsons is no slouch either at 64 yards in 19 attempts for a 3.4 yard average. Central's speedy Trenton Robinson (4.3 seconds for 40 yards) racked up 53 yards on nine carries.

    Western Coach Jim Eurick got his Warriors back on track after a disappointing 2006 season with a 35-12 win over the Flint Central Phoenix last week. The Warriors are motivated, too, to bounce back to the top rung in the Valley after a disappointing 2-7 record last year.

    Western's Justin Gwizdala is the unofficial Valley rushing leader with 8.3 yards per carry for a total of 134 yards on 16 rushes. Quarterback Matt Grew appears to be second to Mt. Pleasant's Arnold in yards passing with two touchdowns on nine tosses for 15 tries for 190 yards and a 21 yard catch average.

    Grew ran nine yards for a score and tossed 16 and 29 yard scoring passes to Scott Osentoski. Jacob Boileau kicked five straight points after.

    A revitalized, highly conditioned Warrior team could be a formidable force in the Valley this year. With Grew snapping passes out of the shotgun to a matched pair of 6-4 tall ends, Boileau and Matt Johnson, and a 240-pound average line in front of him, Western may surprise some traditionally tough teams. Coach Eurick is confident his squad can move the football and, with a stifling defense as shown against the Phoenix, well, who knows? . . .

    Dow's firepower is focused in Kyle Partlo, who clicked on 7 for 25 passes for 94 yards and also rushed for 24 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry on 5 carries, accounting for 118 yards total offense himself.

    The Midland-Central offensive battle shapes up with the Chemics slightly outdoing the Wolves with 250 yards total offense to 240 yards on a wet night last week. If dry conditions forecast hold that could make for a big night both on the ground and in the air for both teams.

    Last year, Ryan Clarey, editor of the Midland High Focus newspaper, had this to say in the September 2006 issue:

    "When the Midland High Chemics play the Bay City Central Wolves in football, many consider it to be just another game on the schedule, but not quite up to the caliber and intensity of a rivalry game. However, this was not always the case. Bay City Central has not won a game versus Midland High since 2001. However, if you go back to 1960, the series has been close. Midland High leads the overall series 19-18-1. The schools have similar overall records and always appear to be in contention for the Saginaw Valley League title."

    Last year, on Nov. 3 to be exact, Central's Trenton Robinson took a 45-yard pass from Quarterback Derek Dalzell to seal a 22-21 victory with 1:31 to play. That leaves the Wolves and the Chemics tied in all time record of 19-19 and one tie.

    So Thursday's game has more on the line than just a season, it is vital to long-term pride. And the winner, if it is Central, may remain in contention for the coveted Valley title.###

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    Dave Rogers

    Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
    respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
    (Contact Dave Via Email at

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