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Prep football: Cook efficiently runs Davis offense

Published October 17, 2012 1:09 pm

Prep football • Davis faces a play-in game against Layton on Tuesday.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Kaysville • Davis quarterback Gage Cook has served as a steadying force for a team that has faced its share of adversity in a difficult Region 1.

"Gage has done a good job of allowing us to do some things in the running game to develop [the offensive line], yet distribute the ball to our skill players in space," Davis coach Ryan Bishop said. "We've been up and down, but one thing I've liked is Gage has worked hard to maintain a consistency, and as he's done that, it's rubbed off positively on our other kids."

Davis entered the year with a patchwork offensive line, but Cook's athleticism bought some time until the line gelled into a more dependable unit. The senior is a true dual-threat quarterback, capable of making plays with his feet and his arm.

"I really do take pride in it because I know it's just another element that's tough for defenses to defend," Cook said. "On a third-and-long, when the defense is playing the pass, it's one of those things where if they get too backed up, it gives me free yards to run and make a play with my feet."

While Davis has designed quarterback runs in the playbook, as well as rollout passes that allow for Cook to run if the coverage downfield is tight, Cook also is good at improvising with his feet. If a play breaks down, Cook usually can scramble to gain positive yardage.

"The thing about it is — and I don't know what the exact coaching term is — he's kind of a baller a little bit," Bishop said. "He's athletic, he's heady, he does a lot of the intangible things to put himself, and more importantly his teammates, in position to have success."

While Cook's running ability is the flashiest part of his game, it would be a mistake to overlook his arm. Cook finished the regular season with more than 1,000 yards passing, a nearly 65 percent completion rate and almost twice as many touchdowns (12) as interceptions (7).

"He's throwing the ball at a high efficiency, and part of why he's doing that is he's so coachable," Bishop said. "Efficiency is one thing we've really tried to drill into our guys, and Gage has done a good job with the opportunities we give him. It's allowed us to stay in some games."

For as good as Cook has been, this is his only go-round as Davis' quarterback. The first-year starter and senior has understood all season that this is it — there will be no second chance if the season turns sour.

"I've played quarterback all my years in football, so I don't know anything else," Cook said. "I touch the ball every single play, and every play relies on what I do when the ball's in my hands." —