Dallas Cook had a field day Friday at Missoula County Stadium.
The Butte junior quarterback completed 40 of 53 pass attempts for 445 yards and four touchdowns to lead the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs to a 42-28 Class AA football win over Missoula Big Sky.
Butte has now won four straight and improved to 6-1. The Eagles fell to 3-4.
“It’s a huge win for us, really,” Bulldogs coach Arie Grey said. “Obviously, any time you win on the road, it’s big. Especially against a very good team like Missoula Big Sky. They’re lights out, and they did a lot of things well.”
Three Butte receivers rode Cook’s big day to more than 100 receiving yards. Senior receiver Bryce Armstrong led the way with 13 grabs for 143 yards and a touchdown while fellow senior Jon Allen hauled in 11 catches for 136 yards and two scores. Rounding out the trio was sophomore Dalton Daum, who finished with eight receptions for 113 yards.
Cook entered Friday as the AA’s leader in passing yards per game at 313.3 as well as in total yards at 359.7. The sophomore sensation nearly surpassed the latter by 100 yards despite gaining a mere 3 yards on the ground (after three kneel-downs to end the game).
“I’m feeling great,” Cook said. “I’m just really excited. I wasn’t expecting to throw for almost 450 yards at all. We came in and knew it was going to be a tough game, so that’s how we played it.”
Cook amassed 246 yards and two touchdowns while going 22 for 33 with his arm in the first half alone.
Despite the Bulldogs’ play distribution of 53 passes to 34 runs, the first two Butte touchdowns came on the ground, each of them 3-yard darts by junior running back Jake Eisenbarth, who finished with 76 yards on 19 attempts.
After struggling to find any offensive rhythm, Eagles senior running back Jay Owens finally broke through for a 46-yard scoring scamper in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 13-7.
Cook answered eight minutes later with a screen pass to leukemia survivor Zach Bunney, who took it 29 yards for the touchdown.
The Eagles seemingly stole the momentum as senior quarterback Cole Baker hit junior wideout Alex Mustard for a 14-yard scoring strike, cutting the deficit to 19-14 with one minute to play in the first half.
Apparently the score was too quick.
Cook drove the Bulldogs down 59 yards in six plays, capping the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Armstrong. A two-point conversion attempt by Allen was good, making the halftime score 28-14 in Butte’s favor.
“The thing about Dallas is that he’s such a great leader,” Grey said. “He does everything we ask him to do and he works extremely hard. He’s smart, he’s a headsy player, and he does some good things with the ball. He leads the team the way he needs to lead it, so it’s really fun to watch him out there.”
Despite an impressive drive to bring the Eagles within six early in the fourth quarter, Cook & Co. proved too much for a Big Sky team that completed just 13 of 31 passes without senior receiver Nico Graham, who missed his second straight game with a sprained MCL.
“That was not good,” Eagles head coach Matt Johnson said. “I’d say 100 percent, we beat ourselves right there. I mean, they’re a good team, but you can’t come out and play like crap like we did tonight. It’s a horrible job coaching, so we have to get back to the drawing board.”
Big Sky outgained Butte 171-122 on the ground, led by Owens’ 120 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.
Baker finished with 128 yards and neither quarterback threw an interception.
Butte 13 14 7 8 – 42
Big Sky 0 14 7 7 – 28
Butte – Jake Eisenbarth 3 run (Jake Dennehy kick), 7:41
Butte – Eisenbarth 3 run (kick failed), 2:24
Big Sky – Jay Owens 46 run (Jesson Preston kick), 11:04
Butte – Zach Bunney 29 pass from Dallas Cook (kick miss), 3:16
Big Sky – Alex Mustard 14 pass from Cole Baker (Preston kick), 1:00
Butte – Bryce Armstrong 2 pass from Cook (Eisenbarth run), 0:12
Big Sky – Owens 1 run (Preston kick), 7:27
Butte – Jon Allen 7 pass from Cook (Dennehy kick), 0:54
Big Sky – Olan Donaldson 38 pass from Baker (Preston kick), 11:47
Butte – Allen 19 pass from Cook (Eisenbarth run), 8:30
RUSHING – Butte (34-122): Jake Eisenbarth 19-76, Zach Bunney 6-27, Dalton Daum 3-17, Dallas Cook 5-3, Jon Allen 1-(-1). Big Sky (28-171): Jay Owens 18-120, Cole Baker 5-42, Scotty Morgan 4-7, Jesson Preston 1-2.
PASSING – Butte (41-55-0-461): Cook 40-53-0-445, Daum 1-1-0-16, Jake Dennehy 0-1-0-0. Big Sky: Baker 13-31-0-128.
RECEIVING – Butte: Bryce Armstrong 13-143, Allen 11-136, Daum 8-113, Bunney 4-38, Cook 1-16, Tyler Earles 3-13. Big Sky: Alex Mustard 5-48, Olan Donaldson 3-46, Ethan Donaldson 3-21, Owens 2-8.