MISSOULA — The top-ranked Bozeman Hawks came, saw and conquered Friday, handily defeating the Missoula Big Sky football team, 45-14, at Missoula County Stadium.
The unbeaten Hawks (8-0) played a near flawless game on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Kristopher Brown led a precision passing attack, complemented by a bruising run game from McCade O’Reilly.
The Bozeman defense also wreaked havoc, forcing three-and-outs or turnovers nearly every time it took the field.
Brown showcased his huge arm on the Hawks’ opening possession, leading Bozeman to paydirt on an eight-play drive, capped off by a 7-yard run from O’Reilly.
After a sack by Kenneth Elden forced a three-and-out, the Bozeman offense needed just one play to add on seven more. This time on a 63-yard touchdown pass from Brown to tight end Ryan Lonergan.
The Eagles stopped the Hawks on their ensuing drive but fumbled a handoff that was recovered by the Hawks after an acrobatic first down catch by Wyatt Shinn.
Bozeman needed just one play again to make the score 21-0 as Brown hit Ryan Simpson on a post route from 26 yards.
A Brown pass from 8 yards out to Brooklyn Demars made it 28-0 in favor of the Hawks and a 37-yard pick-six by Kenneth Eiden started the running clock.
The Hawks showed no mercy, taking three timeouts to kick a last-second field goal to go up 35-0 at halftime.
Eiden made his presence known again on a 43-yard touchdown run to start the second half as the Bozeman offense picked up right where it left off.
The Eagles showed grit in the second half, taking two possessions deep into Hawks’ territory. The latter two ended with a 6-yard touchdown run from Colter Janacaro and a Ben Maehl touchdown catch from Lincoln Draven.
O’Reilly had himself a ballgame, with a stiff arm reminiscent of a young Adrian Peterson, he rushed for 63 yards, and had 62 receiving to go along with two interceptions and a fumble recovery in the first half.
Janancaro finished with 96 yards rushing on 25 carries. Shinn had two catches for 32 yards and Andrew Gardanier tallied seven tackles.
The Hawks will put their perfect record on the line against Great Falls next Friday. Big Sky (2-6) visits Kalispell Glacier next Friday.