Cole Taylor Passed CMR Football Legends From Great Falls – And Didn’t Even Know It | Class AA School Football

GREAT FALLS – It’s every football player’s dream who attends Great Falls CMR High School to one day have their picture posted on the Hall of Fame wall at the far end of the school’s cavernous country house.

And over the past 57 years, more than 100 Rustlers have achieved that goal, which can only be achieved by earning all-state first-team honors in Class AA football.

But only nine of those CMR Hall of Famers were quarterbacks, starting with Art West and John Leister in the 1970s and ending with Jake Bleskin in 2009.

The elite list is topped, of course, by the legendary Dave Dickenson, who guided the Rustlers to 24 straight wins and two state championships in 1989-90. He set several school records for Coach Jack Johnson before taking his talents to Missoula, where he was an NCAA All-American while leading the Montana Grizzlies to the 1995 Division I-AA championship.

Dickenson left CMR with the school record for passing yards in a game (366 in 1990), but that mark only lasted 12 years before Brady Leaf broke it with a 374-yard effort.

Leaf, younger brother of former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf, saw his record broken three weeks ago at Kalispell when current senior QB Cole Taylor threw for 401 yards on 23 complete passes in a 42-35 loss to Glacier.

It’s the only loss this season for CMR, who are 2-0 in the Eastern AA game, 3-1 overall going into Friday night’s game at Billings Senior.

The record came as a complete surprise to Taylor and the coaching staff.

“We were behind four touchdowns after a terrible second quarter,” recalled CMR coach Dennis Morris. “At halftime we basically told Cole and his receivers that they would have to bring us back…the receivers didn’t drop any balls and Cole evened us out before we lost.”

In four games, Taylor is No. 2 among AA quarterbacks with 1,229 yards (307 per game), and has thrown 10 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. He is also the Rustlers’ No. 2 rusher with 213 yards and three touchdowns.

“We’ve got a good O-Line and a good receiving body, so we’re moving football well,” said Taylor, a solid 6-foot-2 200-pound player who recently committed to playing college football in Montana. State. He also received an offer from Montana and showed some interest in Weber State, but said the Bobcats “seemed like the best fit for me.”

Taylor said the MSU coaching staff will give him the chance to play quarterback in the Big Sky Conference, but could move him to tight end or linebacker.

“They want to evaluate me after my senior season. I will do whatever they ask to help the team,” she said.

Taylor played wide receiver on the varsity sophomore year at CMR, and also played quarterback in JV games. He started on the QB last season for CMR (5-5) and was a suitable passer. His numbers this season are about 80 percent better than a year ago.

“Cole made great strides over the summer,” Morris said. “He has become more confident in the schemes and what the field is giving him.”

Taylor’s stats would be even more impressive if he had pitched more often in his last two games, defeats to Belgrade (63-6) and Billings Skyview (63-0). His responsibilities will get tougher in the coming weeks as the Rustlers encounter conference powers Bozeman, Billings West and Great Falls High.

“We’re not going to ask Cole for anything else, but he’s going to face more pressure and he’s going to have to make quicker decisions,” Morris said.

If Taylor continues his improved game, he could put his picture on the Hall of Fame wall, alongside Rustler legends he’s never seen play.

Not that he’s thinking about individual honors.

“We have some big challenges coming up on our schedule, starting Friday at Billings,” said Taylor, also an outstanding basketball player for CMR. “We all have a lot to play for in the coming months.”

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