O’Brien: Sensational Quayvon Skanes sends Phillips to state

SHARE O’Brien: Sensational Quayvon Skanes sends Phillips to state
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It didn’t matter that the field conditions were lousy Saturday at Gately Stadium. It didn’t matter that it was cold, didn’t matter that Marengo was undefeated, didn’t matter what kind of defense the Indians threw at Phillips quarterback Quayvon Skanes. Nothing could keep him out of the end zone.

Skanes was sensational. He scored four rushing touchdowns and threw for a touchdown in the Wildcats’ 47-13 win over Marengo in the Class 4A state semifinals.

Phillips is just the third Public League team to advance to a state football title game. The Wildcats lost in the championship last season. The only other school to play for the title was Robeson in 1982 and a Public League team has never won a title. That could change on Friday at Northern Illinois University when Phillips plays Belleville Althoff for the Class 4A championship.

“I never doubted it we were going back to state this season,” Skanes said. “I knew we had put in the hard work. During the offseason we stayed focused on the task at hand, that was the key.”

Saturday’s game started a half hour late. When the teams arrived the field was covered with snow. A plow cleared things off as well as possible, but the field was still as white as it was green.

“I was kind of nervous when I saw it,” Skanes said. “I thought it would be slippery.”

Skanes exploded for a 64-yard touchdown run on Phillips’ second play of the game.

“When I saw Quayvon do that I thought, oh yeah, it is going to be a good day for us,” Phillips’ Chris Elmore said. “When you see a leader like Quayvon step up it sets the tone for everyone, just puts us in sync.”

Skanes broke loose for a 43-yard touchdown run on the Wildcats’ next possession. He connected with Qadeer Weatherly for a six-yard touchdown pass on their third possession and then ran for a 49-yard touchdown on the fourth possession. Skanes added a 23-yard touchdown run later in the second half.

“I was just playing hard, running fast, making big plays and breaking tackles,” Skanes, a Connecticut recruit, said. “The conditions ended up kinda working in our favor. We like to pound the ball so that’s what we did today.”

Skanes rushed eight times for 208 yards. The touchdown pass to Weatherly was his only pass attempt.

Phillips (13-0) led 47-7 at the half. The Wildcats didn’t punt in the first half and the 40-point running clock rule went into effect in the second half, which was played by Phillips’ second-team offense.

“We are going back to state to finish the deal this time,” Elmore said. “We wanted to send a message to the team we play next week that we are here to win. We are going to come out and win.”

Junior running back Kamari Mosby was Phillips other major offensive threat, finishing with 14 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown.

“We’ve developed into a power running team over the last few years and our offensive line was fired up today,” Phillips coach Troy McAllister said. “Quayvon, you could just see it in his eyes, he was ready. He was dynamic today.”

Phillips’ defensive line has been dominant all year. Marengo (12-1) wasn’t able to muster any kind of an effective running game and Indians quarterback Zach Knobloch was forced to rush most of his throws. He finished 6-for-20 for 106 yards and threw three interceptions.

“Each week our offensive line has been getting a little bit better,” McAllister said. “I think our tough non-conference schedule really helped prepare us for these types of games. Our lines have seen bigger Class 7A and 8A lines.”

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