MISSOULA – Dallas Cook tossed for three touchdowns, two to Jon Allen, while Jake Eisenbarth ran for two more scores in Butte High’s 42-28 Class AA football win over Missoula Big Sky Friday night at Missoula County Stadium.
Bryce Armstrong hauled in an amazing TD catch in the corner of the end zone, while Zach Bunney punched in his team-leading 12th touchdown of the season from 28 yards out, as the Bulldogs improved to 6-1 on the season.
Cook had another big-yardage game at QB, completing 40 of 53 passes for 445 yards and no interceptions, while he helped three receivers past the century mark in receiving yards. Armstrong had 13 grabs for 143 yards, Allen notched 11 receptions for 136 yards, and Dalton Daum had eight catches for 113 yards.
Led by Tyler Earles and Anthony Moritz, Butte High’s defense came up with six big sacks.
“It was a fun game to be a part of,” said Butte High head coach Arie Grey. “Our defense got some big stops when it needed to. They did a good job against (Big Sky quarterback Cole) Baker keeping his running lanes closed. Big Sky is a tough team that could easily be 5-2 or 6-1.”
Butte High never trailed, but the Bulldogs were never really able to run away from Big Sky, which fell to 3-4 with the loss on its homecoming night. Eisenbarth scored on a 3-yard blast to open for the Bulldog offense, then punched another one in from 3 yards out three series later. The Butte junior had 76 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Big Sky got on the board the first play of the second quarter when Jay Owens found daylight through the Butte defense on a 46-yard jaunt, but the Bulldogs kept a cushion in the lead when Bunney used his considerable lateral mobility to get in from 28 yards out.
The Eagles answered with an aerial touchdown that pulled Big Sky within five – 19-14 – but that was as close as they could manage. Armstrong came down with his memorable 2-yard touchdown catch in the waning seconds of the first half to give Butte a 27-14 advantage going into intermission.
Big Sky took advantage of a Bulldog fumble early in the third quarter, as Owens notched his second rushing touchdown of the evening, this time from a yard out.
The Bulldogs bounced back when Cook found Allen on a 6-yard scoring aerial, though the Eagles came right back with a 38-yard scoring strike from Baker to Olan Donaldson. With Big Sky only six points behind, Butte got some breathing room when Cook and Allen connected on an 8-yard pass to give the Bulldogs their final margin of victory.
Butte’s defense held fast on Big Sky’s final drive, and the offense ran out the clock for the win.
Grey was pleased to come away with the road win, but stressed that his team still had plenty of room for improvement.
“We hurt ourselves with mistakes and drops,” he said. “And we need to get better in the red zone. We can’t leave opportunities out there, but the kids battled hard tonight.”
Following CMR’s 27-17 win over Helena High at Memorial Stadium in Great Falls, the Rustlers and Bulldogs are the two teams left at the top, both with 6-1 records. No. 1 CMR’s only loss this season came in the opening week, a 41-20 stumble in Butte, while the No. 3 Bulldogs’ lone loss was a 55-48 decision suffered against Billings Skyview in the second week.
Butte High plays its final regular-season home game next Friday when the Bulldogs host defending state champion Helena Capital (5-2) at Naranche Stadium.
In other Class AA Friday night action, Billings Skyview (3-4) dealt Bozeman the Hawks’ third-straight loss, as the Hawks (4-3) scored 15 fourth-quarter points to take a 29-28 win. Billings West (5-2) eked out a last-second 22-14 win over Billings Senior (3-4), while Capital (5-2) rolled past hapless Kalispell Flathead (0-7) 54-31.
Missoula Hellgate (1-6) got its first win of the season with a 6-0 nod over Great Falls High (1-6), while Kalispell Glacier (5-2) held Missoula Sentinel (2-5) to 5 net rushing yards in a 51-14 win over the Spartans.
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.