It wasn’t the perfect win, but New Utrecht will take it.
The Utes, starting six sophomores, overcame turnovers and penalties to top visiting Canarsie 18–6 in Public School Athletic League City Conference football last on Sept. 12. New Utrecht is now 2–0.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” Utes coach Alan Balkan said. “A lot of bad penalties for us, a lot of mistakes. What I like the most, we keep fighting when something goes wrong, keep playing, and the kids never give up.”
New Utrecht quarterback Mike Davis had a hand in all of the scoring as he passed for a touchdown and ran for two more, to give him seven for the season. The junior led all ball carriers with 113 yards. Tailback Kevin Belgrave added 92 rushing yards. Balkan continues to see progress from Davis.
“I think he’s made a couple of young mistakes, but once he starts getting the right reads and having a little confidence in himself, I think he’s going to be real good,” Balkan said.
It took more than a quarter for New Utrecht to get its offense going. It muffed a punt deep in its own territory, but Canarsie couldn’t capitalize, as its drive was pushed back on two false-start penalties and a loss of 10 yards on the ground.
Davis connected with Walid Othman on fourth and goal from the seven-yard line for the touchdown to cap a drive that lasted almost nine minutes and help put New Utrecht up 6–0 early on the second quarter.
“We were going good,” Othman said. “We were just getting our team hyped up, all motivated. We’re all concentrated and disciplined.”
Canarsie (1–1) almost took back the momentum after a punt. Davis was intercepted following a bad snap. However, Ethan Neufville intercepted Canarsie quarterback Demario Spalding to stop the drive. New Utrecht began to pull away in the second half as Othman intercepted Spalding deep in Utes territory.
“He is one of our best players,” Balkan said of Othman. “He didn’t play defense last year and he’s one of our best defensive players, so he really worked hard to get there.”
Davis converted again on fourth and goal on the ensuing drive on a quarterback sneak to double the lead to 12–0 late in the third. A pep talk from Balkan helped refocus his players.
“All we needed was a little inspiration from our coach to pick us up and tell us to keep our head in the game, we still got this, and executive the game plan,” Davis said.
Canarsie turned the ball over on downs following a dominant defensive series by New Utrecht. The Utes then converted on another long drive to increase the lead to 18–0 on an eight-yard run by Davis in the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs finally got on the board when Shawn Cabbell, who also collected an interception, retuned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to make it 18–6.
Canarsie coach Kyle Allen said he isn’t worried, despite his team never getting going offensively. The squad now has to prepare to face a very good Fort Hamilton team next week.
“Well, you learn a lot from losing,” Allen said. “I guess the bitter taste is going to motivate the kids to do the right thing in practice. You lose two in a row, and you stare down at the possibility of not making the playoffs. So I’ve got to put that kind of pressure on them, it could be do or die next week.”
New Utrecht, on the other hand, is off to a strong start and can try to push it further when it visits Midwood.
“I believe in my team,” Othman said. “I think we can go far this season.”