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New Utrecht tops Midwood for third straight win

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The New Utrecht offense was all but unstoppable on Oct. 26, tallying six touchdowns by four different players and spoiling Midwood’s Senior Day.

The Utes, now winner of three straight, left Midwood Athletic Complex with a convincing 38–12 victory in Public School Athletic League City conference football on Saturday afternoon.

New Utrecht wasted no time on either side of the ball. On the first series of the game they were able to push Midwood back 18 yards from their original line of scrimmage, and on offense they struck on their first possession. Running back Jaleel Brown followed up his five-touchdown performance against Truman with two against the Hornets. The first came on a 30-yard scamper up the middle.

“I think the first defensive stand we had was the key to the game,” New Utrecht coach Alan Balkin said. “When we came out and backed them up 18 yards and scored on the next series. That was the key, I think.”

From the first touchdown it was all New Utrecht (6–2) as they scored on their next two possessions. First, Michael Velasquez caught a Richard Wright pass from 28 yards out, and Wright followed that by faking a handoff to Brown before running. He broke a tackle to unleash a 90-yard run to pay dirt and an early 18–0 lead for the Utes.

“It was a broken play,” Wright said. “I read the [defensive] end, but he stayed and I had the ball in my hand. It was time for me to go.”

Wright’s ability to run and pass came in handy because of Midwood’s determination to stop Brown and the running game, often stacking the box with eight players — which New Utrecht expected.

“We thought they were going to load the box,” Balkin said. “We had a couple of quick passing routes we got touchdowns on.”

The Utes faced a brief moment of adversity when a fumble resulted in a 30-yard scoop and score by Midwood’s Brandon French to cut the lead to 18–6. However, New Utrecht scored on their first possession after the break when Vonn Grant scored on a reverse to make it 26–6.

Midwood (5–3) was able to get on the board once more when quarterback Nicholas Falzone found Merlin Neal in the end zone from 25 yards out. New Utrecht responded by recovering a fumble in Midwood territory and Wright hooked up with Grant on a slant to bring the lead to 20. The Hornets scored a final touchdown in the fourth quarter after an interception by Velasquez set up the Utes at Midwood’s 13. Brown would eventually score on a one-yard plunge.

New Utrecht has reeled off three straight wins after consecutive losses with a week to play in the regular season. The Utes did so by getting back to the fundamentals.

“Practice, practice, practice,” Balkin said. “It has been excellent the last three weeks. We’re practicing like a football team, like men. We went back to basics and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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