CHICAGO - On Tuesday Gatorade announced Billings West senior Taco Dowler as the 2021 Gatorade Montana football player of the year. Dowler is the seventh Gatorade player of the year to be chosen from Billings West.
Dowler, a Montana State commit, played wide receiver and defensive back for Billings West. The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder caught 59 passes for 943 yards and nine touchdowns this past season, leading the Golden Bears to the State AA championship game for the second consecutive season. Dowler also recorded two interceptions on defense.
Dowler is also a standout on the track and has volunteered by assisting special needs students in his school. He has maintained a 3.50 GPA in the classroom.
"Taco Dowler is a game-changer," Helena Capital head coach Kyle Mihelish said. "They give him the ball in a lot of different situations and he can score from anywhere. He's a tremendous player who you have to double-cover all of the time."
Dowler joins recent Gatorade football players of the year Dylan Rollins of Missoula Sentinel, Tommy Mellott of Butte, Carson Rostad of Hamilton and Gabe Sulser of Billings Senior.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Dowler as Montana’s best high school football player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to be announced in December, Dowler joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners, including Emmitt Smith (1986-87, Escambia High School, Fla.), Matthew Stafford (2005-06, Highland Park High School, Texas) and Christian McCaffrey (2012-13 & 2013-14, Valor Christian High School, Colo.).