Blog Post by Matthew Liebowitz
It takes three words for Coach Jacob Rivers to sum up Nate Balthazard, to accurately encapsulate the Williston Northampton football player’s guts, grit, and gridiron glory.
“He’s a warrior.”
However, for those who attended Nate’s February 6 signing ceremony, during which he formally committed to play football for Sacred Heart University in the fall, three words don’t tell the entire story.
“You’ll find people faster, or stronger, but you won’t find anyone who wants it more,” Rivers said.
Nate played slot receiver for the Wildcats this season; prior to coming to Williston for his post-graduate year, he played for the Red Raiders of Barnstable High School on Cape Cod.
Rivers continued with his praise of Nate’s mental acuity, a skill that will serve him well when he joins the Division I Sacred Heart Pioneers under the tutelage of Head Coach Mark Nofri.
“He diagnoses things quickly,” said Rivers, who speaks from experience; he played slot receiver at Trinity from 2011 to 2015. “In the middle of the play you need to take in a lot of information and be able to know what to do in a split second. He’s very good at that. It’s instinctual.”
Accolades are nothing new for Nate. He received the 2015 Michael A. Houston Memorial Award from Barnstable High School, and was a 2014 and 2015 Old Colony League All Star at wide receiver. At Williston he was an All-Erikson League selection for football.
Tommy Beaton, Williston’s head coach, doubled down on the praise, citing Nate’s impressive work ethic coupled with his natural talent.
“We never had a doubt he’d play [in college],” said Beaton. “He made an impact on day one.” Beaton said an imperative this season was simply to “try to find a way to give him the ball.”
Aside from his coaches, there are three role models—a cheering section, more appropriately—with whom Nate is delighted to share this moment.
Speaking of his father, Roy, and his mother, Karen, Nate said, “They are the first people I share the good times with. They are all extremely hard working and I model my behavior after them.” He thanked them as well for the “plethora of time and money” they put into his athletic career and for the continued encouragement through tough times.
The appreciation goes both ways. Nate’s father, Roy, traveled from Barnstable to wherever the Wildcats played this season. “I didn’t miss a game,” he said. “I saw every one.” He is planning a similar attendance schedule when Nate suits up for Sacred Heart.
Roy noted and appreciated the camaraderie and leadership skills his son took on at Williston this year, and again spoke highly of Nate’s perseverance and tenacity.
“He set his goals and did whatever it took to get there,” Roy said.
Though the ink is dry and the recruitment process is over, Nate is not taking it easy. He’s currently in Athletic Performance “to get bigger, faster, and stronger,” and in the spring will hit the track—again with Coach Rivers—to improve his sprinting form. From there it’s a summer of Sacred Heart-planned workouts until training camp officially starts.