By Jerry Del Priore
There’s something to be said about bending but not breaking. Add in a little luck for New Utrecht, and you got a win, as the Utes (2-0) defeated host Madison, 28-20, Friday afternoon in a PSAL football Bowl Conference game.
With the Golden Knights (1-1) trailing by eight points and knocking on New Utrechts’ goal line with less than four minutes left in the contest, quarterback Rickoy Riley and his center seemed to experience a bad ball exchange. What resulted was the Utes recovering the pigskin at their own eight-yard line.
“That was more of luck,” New Utrecht Head Alan Balkin said of the fumble, right before his boys showered him with victory water. “Sometimes, you have to have luck to win.”
The Utes began by blocking a punt and recovering the football at Madison’s 37-yard line. A few players later, senior runningback Christophe Molien ran it in from the two-yard line and followed it up with a successful two-point conversion pass for an 8-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Junior quarterback Isaiah Wright completed a deep touchdown pass and New Utrecht cashed in with another successful two-point conversion for a 16-0 advantage early in the second period.
However, Riley narrowed the gap to 16-6 on a TD rush midway through the second quarter.
But the Golden Knights shot themselves in the foot again, when, after intercepting a pass downfield, a Utes defender was able to strip the ball while a teammate pounced on it to regain possession.
Molien bolted for a long touchdown run that swelled New Utrecht’s lead to 22-6 early in the third period.
The Utes scored again after Madison’s defense seemed to stymie the running effort at the line, but that wasn’t the case, as New Utrecht’s rusher found the end zone for a commanding 28-6 lead midway through the third quarter.
But the Golden Knights cut the deficit to 28-12 late in the third period.
After a solid Madison defensive effort, the Golden Knights offensive scored on a 22-yard pass from Riley, with the two-point play making it a 28-20 tilt early in the fourth quarter.
But that’s as close as Madison would get, as the Utes kept them off the scoreboard as time ticked away on the clock, and game.
After playing years at the City Conference level, a few thin football seasons at the Bensonhurst school forced New Utrecht down in the ranks. But Balkin said this was a good morale victory for his squad, who beat the defending Bowl Conference Champs.
“It was a confidence builder for us,” he said. “We got dropped down a division because we had a couple of tough years; we won ten games in four years. We played the best team from last year; they’re a very good team. And it was a very good confidence builder for us.”
The Utes travel to Staten Island on Saturday, September 21st, at noon to face Mckee/Staten Island Tech, while the Golden Knights visit Port Richmond on the same day and time.