Grand Street rebounds from loss to Lincoln by beating New Utrecht
Grand Street Campus was leading New Utrecht 19-6 early in the fourth quarter as the Utes were steadily marching downfield toward the end zone.
While this typically isn’t a concern, the Wolves were coming off a loss to Lincoln High School — blowing a lead with just more than two minutes to play in the process — so it was important for Grand Street to close out the game with a victory.
Grand Street’s head coach Bruce Eugene switched up his defensive backs after noticing New Utrecht’s tendency to pass to Walid Othman. The move paid off as Alexander Badine picked off a pass by Angelo Carrera intended for Othman that essentially clinched a 25-6 victory for Grand Street over New Utrecht in Bensonhurst on Friday.
“We went to man-to-man coverage — we knew they were going to [Othman], and Badine is an excellent corner, so he was able to read the play and get the pick,” said senior defensive back Edwin Lee. “He picked it off and that play changed the momentum. Football is all about momentum — so after that, the game was over.”
This was a significant win, as New Utrecht has already beaten some of the better teams in Brooklyn, and coming off the loss, the Wolves wanted to get the bad taste out of their mouths.
“The defense did a great job because the offense started off slow, and they really kept us in the game,” said Grand Street quarterback Justin White. “We weren’t really clicking today, but the defense kept us in there and let us get the W. [Badine’s interception] was a big play down there on the goalline. It was a play that could have turned the game around, but we kept the momentum in an important spot.”
Grand Street got an early lead in this game when White scored on a nine-yard run late in the first quarter. New Utrecht answered back with a 55-yard touchdown pass from Carrera to Othman late in the half, but Grand Street immediately scored again when White hit Taysir Mack with a 15-yard pass that gave the Wolves a 13-6 lead.
The Wolves increased their lead to 19-6 early in the third when White hit Aaron Lewis with a 35-yard pass. The score was stagnant until White found Romiio Littlejohn open for a 14-yard touchdown.
There wasn’t much celebration, though, as the game ended two minutes early, and players were escorted off the field after one spectator on Grand Street’s sideline began a long tirade of curses directed at the referees. Things escalated when Eugene refused to shake New Utrecht’s coach Alan Balkin’s hand, which lead to a lot of shouting between players and assistant coaches.
“I just want to apologize to everyone because my kids are not like that,” said Eugene, who also said tensions were high because Grand Street felt it was being unfairly penalized during the game. “When they see that I’m in trouble they come to my defense.”
With the win, Grand Street improved to 4-1 on the season and New Utrecht fell to 3-2. The Wolves get set to face Jefferson out in East New York this weekend while the Utes head to Queens where they will take on Flushing.
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