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Barons quarterback Garrett Musgrave carries the ball down field against the Voyageurs. Jamie Harkins/Meridian Booster
Lloydminster Comprehensive High School Barons running back Nathan Zacharias was everywhere on the field.
Zacharias cracked open a defensive battle between the Barons and Bonnyville Voyageurs this past week with a long kick return to the end zone about eight minutes into the first quarter.
The veteran running back then helped break the game open by driving the ball deep into the Voyageurs zone at the start of the second half before providing a bit of defensive coverage through stepping in to make tackles when the opposition pushed the play on a series of picks late in the game.
The Barons (4-0) used their star running back’s efforts to secure a hard-fought 31-21 win against the Voyageurs (1-3) at Armstrong Field last Thursday.
The home side got on the board first 7:27 into the first quarter on a conceded safety with Zacharias following the play with the kick return touchdown.
“I saw nothing but space,” said Zacharias. “The guys were blocking for me. They busted their tails off and one jump cut and you’re gone. It was just green field and take it to the house.”
The Voyageurs pushed back on their next possession only to be stymied by the Barons defence at midfield.
Bonnyville finally got on the scoreboard with 3:11 remaining in the second quarter on a Silas Fagnan quarterback sneak from the Barons five-yard line.
“They were shutting us down by their corners dropping deep because we wanted to pass,” said Voyageurs running back Evan Fritzler.
“Our whole thing this week was shutting down the run for them.”
Barons quarterback Garrett Musgrave hit Eric Stephens with a 19-yard pass and run touchdown 3:34 into the third quarter to increase their lead to 16-7. A second Voyageurs conceded safety a minute later brought the score to 18-7.
Stephens picked up another major at the 7:11 mark of the second half on a long pass behind coverage before Zacharias added to the score on a nine-yard run to the outside and into the house with 1:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Fagnan and Voyageurs receiver Aaron Goulet scored two late fourth quarter touchdowns to bring the score close.
The Barons will enjoy a Wheatland Football League quarter-final bye with the team’s next action coming against a yet unknown opponent in the league semifinal in a week and a half.
“The next two weeks we’re going to be training other players in other positions,” said Zacharias.
“Heal, get iced and just try plays both ways and get ready for provincials and the Wheatland final.”