Phillips’ offense is used to getting most of the publicity, but it was the defense that took over the spotlight in the Wildcats’ 24-7 win over Geneseo in the Class 4A state quarterfinals Saturday at Gately Stadium.
The Maple Leafs didn’t manage a first down until their first drive of the second half.
Phillips scored with 7:35 left in the first half when Quayvon Skanes, a Connecticut recruit, threw a 20-yard dart over the middle to junior Kahdaffie Green to put the Wildcats up 7-0. Five minutes later, another Wildcats junior, Kahmari Mosby, ran in from 23 yards out to put the Wildcats up 14-0.
Geneseo quarterback Will Daniels got the Maple Leafs on the board in the fourth quarter with a three-yard touchdown run to make it 17-7, the closest things would get.
Amir Watts led the Phillips’ defense but plenty of underclassmen contributed, such as junior Chris Elmore.
“Two years ago this team came out and beat us on our home field and you know we took that to heart,” Elmore said. “We have just been fighting ever since. And we looked forward to come out and playing them and we prepared well.”
The Wildcats advance to the state semifinals for the second consecutive season and will face Marengo next weekend with a chance to become the third Chicago Public League team to reach the state finals.
This is a familiar atmosphere,” Elmore said. “We know how to go out there and win. And we also know teams are going to get harder from here.”
The success is hard to put in to words for Phillips lineman Malcolm Fox.
“I don’t know how to describe it to be honest,” Fox said. “This is my first time starting int he playoffs. It’s just an unbelievable feeling knowing that I could be part of a team that could make history. It’s something I can’t describe.”