Mason Sartain scored two touchdowns and the Bonnyville Voyageurs defence surrendered zero points against in a 37-8 win against the Cold Lake Royals on Friday night.
Bonnyville’s strong road effort spoiled the Royals first-ever home game on Thomas Varughese Field.
“I’m very happy to win. It’s hard to win in Cold Lake,” said Voyageurs head coach Larry Godziuk.
“[It was] A big night for them with their first time on the new field. We prepped all week and watched a lot of film and I’m really proud of my defence. Listening to what we asked them to do. Cold Lake still got some big plays, they have some good players.
“Number 5 [Charlie Pearce] and number 23 [Cole Priestly] know how to play football and #10 [Joe Hamel] knows how to throw it, but our defence stood in tough when we needed to,” he said.
The Voyageurs started each half with big touchdowns from the track and field star and returning football player Mason Sartain.
His world-class speed could not be caught in a 40-yard receiver sweep to give the Voyageurs an early lead.
Not long after, Royals’ Charlie Pearce field a punt near his own 10-yard line before finding a seam and exploding for a 100-yard punt return touchdown to make it 7-6.
The Voyageurs increased their lead with a safety in the second quarter and a touchdown at the end of the half.
But it was a crushing kick return touchdown to start the third quarter by Sartain that tilted the game for Bonnyville 23-7.
“Coming into the second half and Mason takes it 80 yards for a touchdown and that really takes the wind out of a team’s sails. When you’re kind of still in the game and not too far away and then boom. You get a kick in the gut with a touchdown on the second-half kickoff,” said Godziuk.
The Royals offence struggled with consistency and turnovers.
Quarterback Joe Hamel was flushed out of the pocket and forced to scramble on many dropbacks, which led to a couple fumbles and interceptions.
Despite a few big plays and turnovers by their own defence, the only points they scored in the second half was when the Voyageurs conceded a safety pinned in their own side of field.
The Voyageurs improved to 2-0 on the season but will be tested in their Week 3 matchup.
The St. Paul Lions will head to Walsh Field on Friday with a similar 2-0 record after a 55-0 shellacking they handed to the Westlock Thunderbirds.
“They’re a big physical team, so we’ll have to be prepared for that challenge mentally and physically. We only came tonight with 29 and we lost a couple to injury, so we have to manage our numbers and make sure we have enough to finish the game and keep everybody healthy. I think we have the speed to counter St. Paul’s size. I think if we take advantage of our speed we’ll be just fine,” said Godziuk.
The Cold Lake Royals have a bye this weekend.