Early in Saturday’s game at Lane, Dewayne Collins tucked the ball in and took off.
One teammate, Quayvon Skanes, put a pancake block on a Naperville North cornerback. Another, Amani Jones, sealed off a Huskies linebacker.
And just like that, Collins was off to the races, a scene that was repeated several times in Phillips’ 40-7 victory over No. 10 Naperville North.
Collins, part of a state championship relay last spring, burned North again and again, finishing with 268 yards on 17 carries. The senior had touchdown runs of 76, 51 and 55 yards.
“I feel like I was a lot quicker and at the end, they would bite [on fakes] so it was easy to get around and use my speed,” Collins said.
“He was special [Saturday] and he’s been special for two years, three years,” Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said of Collins, who also threw for 47 yards and a touchdown. “It’s not like we didn’t know he was very good. We knew if he got outside of us, we were in trouble.”
For all that, the Huskies (2-1) still led 7-6 after one quarter.
Collins’ 76-yard touchdown dash on Phillips’ second play from scrimmage opened the scoring, but Naperville North went up 7-6 at 2:11 of the first quarter on quarterback Chris Gajcak’s 9-yard TD run.
That 91-yard drive included a 28-yard pass from Gajcak (18 carries, 54 yards; 4-of-13 passing, 69 yards) to Austin Mezmar and a 13-yard run by the quarterback. But after that, the Wildcats’ defense stood tall.
Phillips recovered three North fumbles and Aaron Clayton ran an interception back 45 yards for a touchdown.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit offensively,” Drendel said. “They took away the things we wanted to do.”
“The defense was phenomenal,” Phillips coach Troy McAllister said. “That’s a tough offense with [multiple] formations. … Defense was the difference. They got the ball back quickly to our offense. The more plays we run, the more good things happen for us.”
Collins’ 34-yard pass to Skanes set up a 1-yard TD run by Corey Warren (20 carries, 92 yards) at 11:06 of the second quarter that put Phillips up to stay. Collins’ 51-yard TD made it 21-7 at halftime.
The Wildcats recovered a Huskies’ fumble on North’s first possession of the third quarter and Collins found Warren for a 17-yard TD pass at 7:38.
Clayton’s interception return and Collins’ 55-yard scoring run in the fourth widened the final margin and completed Phillips’ bounce-back from last week’s loss to Carmel.
“We feel like last week, we played in the fourth quarter the way weshould have played the whole game,” Collins said. “So this week we just came out and played four quarters.”
“Last week, we couldn’t get [Collins] to open space and that was the difference,” McAllister said.
“He wasn’t afraid to get inside and run physical with us,” Drendel said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t really come to play.”