Phillips powers past Coal City to clinch first state final berth

SHARE Phillips powers past Coal City to clinch first state final berth
SHARE Phillips powers past Coal City to clinch first state final berth

Phillips wrote a new page in the Public League record book on Saturday.

The Wildcats became the second CPS team to advance to the state final after a 26-6 victory over Coal City in a Class 4A state semifinal at Gately Stadium.

Robeson reached the Class 5A state championship in 1982 before falling to Rockford Guilford.

Phillips will play Rochester at 7 p.m. on Friday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

The Wildcats (12-1) built a first half lead that was too much for the Coalers to overcome against a stout defense. Quarterback Dewayne Collins ran for touchowns of two and six yards to pace Phillips to 12-0 lead with 6:15 remaining in the first quarter.

Jack Dibble’s two-yard touchdown run in the first quarter cut the deficit to 12-6 for Coal City (10-3).

The Wildcats seized control when Collins connected with Amani Jones for a 41-yard touchdown pass to stretch the lead to 19-6 with 10:36 remaining in the second quarter. Corey Warren, who had 29 carries for 234 yards, added a three-yard run for a score late in the second quarter to put the game out of reach for the Coalers.

“I had two crucial fumbles last week that could have cost us,” Warren said. “I wanted to prove to everyone that that wasn’t Corey Warren and the real Corey Warren is one of the best in the state.’’

Collins added 19 carries for 115 yards for Phillips.

Jones, who also plays linebacker, finished with 11 tackles and Chris Elmore added nine to anchor the Wildcats’ defense. Jamal Brown and Aaron Clayton both recorded interceptions for Phillips.

“It was an outstanding team victory,” Wildcats coach Troy McAllister said. “We were all on the same page and they left it all on the field.”

In the locker room after the game, McAllister emphasized that reaching the championship is just “unfinished business.”

“I know it is a daunting task that we have ahead of us, but I feel we are up for the challenge,” McAllister said.

‘‘It was too much speed and athleticism on the field for us to get past,” Coal City coach Lenny Onsen said. ‘‘There were several plays on offense that we would normally have broken for big yardage, but they were able to run it down. If they got a step on you, they were gone. They are a very well coached and discipline team. It is just a different level of athlete than we are used to playing.’’

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