Players from Macomb Dakota celebrate a score Aug. 22 at a scrimmage. The Cougars have 13 returning starters from last season.

Players from Macomb Dakota celebrate a score Aug. 22 at a scrimmage. The Cougars have 13 returning starters from last season.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

2019 Football Preview: Macomb Dakota

2018 Record: 8-3

By: C & G Sports Staff | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published July 15, 2019

Helmet provided by


Last season’s record: 8-3

League: Macomb Area Conference Red Division

Returning starters: 13

First game: 7 p.m. Aug. 29 vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s

Offensive keys:
Dakota coach Greg Baur said the kicking game would be vital for the team and is dependent on four-year starter Brady Zarschler.

Four seniors — Connor Wolfgang, Brandon Ross, Tyson Wheeler and Zach Greaves — anchor the offensive line. Dakota put up 33.3 points per contest in 2018 — good for fifth in the 35-team MAC.

Defensive keys:
Dakota’s defensive line should be solid, with Ross and Wheeler anchoring the unit. The Cougars allowed 20.3 points per game last season.

Coach’s outlook:
Dakota has qualified for 18 straight postseasons and won Division 1 state titles in 2006 and 2007.

“We’re looking to be competitive in what I believe is the toughest division in the state — the MAC Red,” Baur said. “We’re really happy with where we are right now. The team has worked really hard this summer. We’ve got a long way to go to get to where we want to be, but I like where we’re at.”

vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (3-6) — 7 p.m. Aug. 29
This matchup marks the fourth straight year Dakota and St. Mary’s will start the season against each other. The Cougars have won all three battles — all by seven points or less.

vs. Fraser High (1-8) — 7 p.m. Sept. 6
Dakota is undefeated in four games against Fraser. The Cougars knocked off the Ramblers 45-15 last season.

at New Baltimore Anchor Bay (3-6) — 7 p.m. Sept. 13
The Cougars hold a 9-2 series lead, including a 49-27 win last season. The Tars last beat Dakota back in 2003.

vs. Sterling Heights Stevenson (4-5) — 7 p.m. Sept. 20
Dakota leads the series 13-8, largely due to winning eight out of the last nine meetings. The Cougars routed the Titans 58-14 last season.

at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (14-0) — 7 p.m. Sept. 27
Chippewa Valley went 14-0 last season on its way to the Division 1 state title. That includes a 24-17 regular-season over Dakota and 51-10 in the playoffs. The Cougars still lead the series 19-12.

at Utica Ford II (3-6) — 7 p.m. Oct. 4
Dakota holds a 15-1 all-time mark against Ford. Ironically, the Cougars’ lone loss to the Falcons came in 2006 — when Dakota went 13-1 and won the D-1 state title.

vs. Romeo High (6-4) — 7 p.m. Oct. 11
Dakota went 2-0 against Romeo last season, with both wins coming by seven points or less. Both teams are mainstays in the playoffs: Dakota has qualified for 18 straight postseasons, while Romeo has advanced to the postseason in 16 straight years.

vs. Utica Eisenhower (6-4) — 7 p.m. Oct. 18
Dakota has played eight teams at least 10 times. The Cougars’ lowest win percentage among those squads is against the Eagles, who Dakota holds a 14-12 series edge against. Eisenhower beat Dakota 21-13 last season for its fourth straight win in the series.

at Macomb L’Anse Creuse North (4-5) — 7 p.m. Oct. 25
Dakota has dropped just one game in 15 against North. That came in 1996: the Cougars’ first season with a varsity program.

Schedule provided by and historical data provided by