When Alan Balkan spoke glowingly about Jordan Paul in the preseason, the New Utrecht football coach knew what he was talking about. At the time, Paul had yet to win a varsity start, but Balkan saw something special in the kid who had been around the program for years.
The rest of the city is starting to understand why.
Paul led the Utes to their second upset in as many weeks, shocking previously undefeated Tottenville, 20-18, in Brooklyn Saturday afternoon. Paul completed 15-of-21 passes for 201 yards and threw touchdown passes of 12 and 50 yards to receivers Terrence Chillious and Curtis Smith, respectively. He also rushed for 45 yards, including a 2-yard sneak for a touchdown.
“I think he’s going to be one of the best quarterbacks in the city by the end of the year,” Balkan said. “He’s getting better and better every week.”
Paul’s resiliency has been particularly impressive. Working in back of an inexperienced offensive line, he often takes big hits. But Paul, Balkan said, never complains. He simply dusts himself off and gets back in the huddle.
“He’s a football player,” Balkan said. “With him playing quarterback, we’re always in the game and have a chance to win.”
The rest of the Utes (2-2) are starting to come together as well. After tough losses to DeWitt Clinton and Lehman %u2013 by a combined 10 points %u2013 New Utrecht has held on for narrow victories over Boys & Girls and Tottenville.
Against the Pirates (3-1), Balkan’s club didn’t necessarily play its best game, but the Utes came through in the clutch. They stopped three 2-point conversions and Mergim Demhasaj blocked a field goal to end the first half. And with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter and Tottenville driving, Chris Stokilo stripped running back Marvin Staten and Davon Collins recovered with 35 seconds remaining.
“Our kids don’t give up, they play hard from the first quarter until the last quarter,” Balkan said. “When you play hard for four quarters good things happen.”
©2009 Community News Group
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