Phillips vs. Simeon has taken on quite a sparkle over the past several years. The Prep Bowl has faded significantly. Very few Public League teams make the state playoffs and even fewer manage to win a game. It’s safe to say that Wildcats vs. Wolverines is the Public League Super Bowl.
Simeon and Phillips fans tailgated all around Gately Stadium on Saturday. Then they filtered in to watch a virtuoso performance by the Wildcats’ defense. No. 4 Phillips shut out Simeon 14-0.
The Wolverines (0-3) managed just three plays of more than 25 yards. Quarterback Alante Brown, a talented junior, finished 8-for-34 passing for 114 yards with one interception.
“We have a lot of young defensive backs, a lot of guys that it is their first year playing the position,” Phillips defensive back Joe Thompson said. “I’m really proud of them, they came out and played hard.”
Thompson grabbed an interception with 8:39 to play in the second quarter and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. It was the only score for either team in the first half.
“[All the incompletions] were frustrating [the Simeon receivers],” Thompson said. “I could see it in their faces. It was starting to get to them. We were talking a little trash, that got to them even more.”
Phillips (3-0) opened the second half with a three-play scoring drive. Senior running back Craig Elmore ran for 35 yards, five yards and ten a 30-yard touchdown run.
“There aren’t too many people that can tackle that guy,” Thompson said. “He’s really unstoppable. That’s a Mack truck, nobody tackles him.”
Elmore had 23 carries for 150 yards and caught one pass for 29 yards. He also plays linebacker.
“I didn’t think Simeon was going to throw that much,” Elmore said. “I came to their first game to watch them play Oak Park. They were running a lot. Simeon will always have good athletes, they are going to make big plays. I’m proud of our defensive backs, they stepped up when we needed them.”
Brown was effective on the ground, rushing for 99 yards on 11 carries. Simeon receiver Jayshon Jackson caught four passes for 78 yards.
Phillips quarterback J’Bore Gibbs was 10-for-20 for 129 yards passing and rushed seven times for 52 yards.
The Wolverines have played three good teams and lost all three games. Their mission is clear,
win the final five to get into the playoffs.
Phillips has a different challenge. The Wildcats need to find a way to keep the intensity up. They’ve knocked off Loyola, Richards and Simeon. Their isn’t another challenge for them in the regular season.
“[Phillips coach Troy McAllister] keeps us in the cage all week, so to speak,” Elmore said. “We can’t really hit one another. He lets us out of the cage Friday and Saturday nights and we get the job done.”
It wasn’t just the Phillips secondary that impressed. Defensive end Terrance Taylor, a transfer from Mount Carmel, was a destroyer. He had three sacks and a handful of batted down passes.
“We aren’t worried about a letdown,” Thompson said. “We put in the work watching film. Guys do things on their own, the coaches don’t even have to tell us to do stuff. Guys on this team are really determined.”