By Jerry Del Priore
The New Utrecht/Tilden game, a battle of two PSAL Bowl Division undefeated squads, turned into a proverbial chess match, with the contest knotted at 6-6 with ten ticks left to play.
But instead of taking a knee, and heading into overtime, Blue Devil senior quarterback Isaiah Larrier dropped back to pass. But sophomore cornerback Tristan Peters made a nice read on the pass and proceeded to intercept the ball, returning it for a 24-yard touchdown to give the Utes an electrifying 12-6 win Friday night at home.
“My eyes were pretty big,” Peters said of the pass as it came his way. “I read it, I saw the ball, and I attacked it.”
It was Peters’ first career varsity touchdown.
New Utrecht (5-0) head coach Allan Balkan said Peters had difficulty covering the slant route earlier in the game but his defensive backfield made the necessary adjustment to help him make the victorious pickoff.
“The problem was, he got beat twice on slot routes; both times they were incomplete,” Balkan explained. “The game plan against them (Tilden) was to take away the slant, and play the go and on that last one, they took it away and made the play. That’s why they ran the slant because he didn’t do it the first two times.”
However, Balkan said he defense came up huge before that, as it stopped the two-point conversion play after the Blue Devils beat the Utes’ defense three times with the same rushing play for a touchdown on Tilden’s lone scoring drive.
“When they came back and scored that touchdown, made it 6-6, we could have given up that two-point conversion, and we didn’t,” he said. That was a good play. They started to run their counterplay; they didn’t run it all game. And all of a sudden, on their last drive, they run it three times, and we were not ready for that. On the goal line (two-point play), they run counter and one of our kids made a good play.”
New Utrecht’s senior running back Michael Alexis hit paydirt on the third offensive play of the tilt, staking the Utes to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.
The game remained that way until senior Blue Devil (4-1) running back Armani Scott scored on a two-yard touchdown that tied the affair at 6 with 3:15 remaining in the tilt.
The Utes face Eagle Academy for Young Men II Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Old Boys & Girls High School Field, while the Tilden hosts Eagle Academy for Young Men III Friday at 7:00 p.m.