Story by Larry Jacobson, JTV Sports
For Drew Dowding, JTV’s 2013 High School Football Defensive Player of the Year, Michigan Center’s 8-2 record this year was ‘good, but not great.’
And while individual honors will come his way now that the season is over, the team’s fate is what matters the most to him.
“It was a pretty good season, but not a great one for us,” Dowding said. “Winning a share of the Cascades Conference championship was amazing and we’re proud of that, but the year as a whole didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.”
One of the most decorated football players to ever take the field for Michigan Center, Dowding’s senior season got off to a rough start when he missed practice time in August with a wrist injury.
“The wrist injury slowed me down some and I had to deal with that, and then during the season I got mono (mononucleosis),” Dowding said. “It seemed like, for a while there, it was one thing after another, but you just have to push through it.”
And push through it he did – to the tune of 104 total tackles (82 of them solo shots) for an average of 13 per game. Dowding also had 4 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and another fumble he recovered for a touchdown. He also drove the bus to Cardinal road trips and routinely stopped by Rudy’s Drive-In on Page Avenue to treat the rest of the guys to root beer floats.
Well, those last two items were totally made up, but you get the picture.
He leaves Michigan Center as the program’s all-time leader in career receiving yards and touchdowns, receptions, fumble recoveries and total tackles.
Two of Dowding’s goals before the season were for the Cardinals to beat Grass Lake and win a state playoff game. Alas, those were two goals Center did not meet as they lost to the Warriors and then got knocked off by Constantine in the playoffs’ first round.
But the legacy of any senior class, of course, is what type of foundation they’ve built for the players that will follow them through the program.
And it’s perhaps that legacy which matters most of all to Drew Dowding.
“I hope I made Michigan Center fans proud,” he said. “I hope when they remember my time here, they remember that I was a guy that did things the right way, was very dedicated and gave full effort each and every time out.”
Don’t worry, young man, they’ll remember you.
One of the best to ever play football for Michigan Center will be the bench mark for Cardinal players for years to come.
That’s quite a legacy, Mr. Dowding… well done.