Janice Jackson, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, was a beloved principal at Raby and Westinghouse. The schools named their annual football game the Jackson Classic in her honor.
It’s one of the city’s coolest rivalries. Raby walks a half mile from their school to Westinghouse’s field. The Raiders always bring the Jackson Classic trophy, which has found a permanent home at Raby. The Raiders have won all five of the games.
“It’s a nice little walk,” Raby senior Keith Blan said. “As you can see, they have never beat us.”
Blan was all smiles after grabbing the key interception to keep the streak intact. The Raiders beat Westinghouse 20-12 on Saturday.
“That’s the hardest battle we’ve ever had against them,” Raby coach D’Angelo Dereef said. “They are about to turn the page but athletically we have them right now.”
Blan’s interception with 1:35 to play sealed the win. Raby quarterback Theon Davis was a force on the ground with 19 carries for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He ripped off an 83-yard run and connected with receiver Marshawn Foster on a 47-yard reception, the two biggest plays of the game.
Fireworks from Raby QB Theon Davis in the final :46 of the 2Q. He connects with Marshawn Foster on a 47-yard pass. Then he runs it in for a score and gets the key two-point conversion.— Michael O'Brien (@michaelsobrien) September 22, 2018
Raiders lead Westinghouse 14-12 at the half. pic.twitter.com/QlFXFooHGn
“I just wanted to get it to [Foster] so he could make a play and he made it,” Davis said. “If we play Raby football no one can beat us, no one can have a close game with us. It was closer than expected. The first half we were shooting ourselves in the foot and making mistakes.”
Davis started several games the last two seasons but would eventually lose the job to star quarterback Tyshun Turnipseed, who graduated last year.
“Theon always outworked [Turnipseed] in the offseason,” Dereef said. “Then he’d do something crazy at school. Everyday when I see him I give him a hug and tell him I love him. I’ve tried everything else. Now I just hug him, no matter what the day is. That’s made a change. He had 16 touchdowns in four games coming into today. He’s stepping up.”
Westinghouse quarterback Kejuan Pitts was 5 of 10 passing for 108 yards and one interception. He had a nine-yard touchdown run to open the scoring.
LaDerek Towner had 12 carries for 50 yards. His 12-yard touchdown run in the second quarter put the Warriors (3-2, 1-1 Illini Land of Lincoln) ahead 12-6. Westinghouse was shut out in the second half.
The Raiders (4-1, 2-0) entered the season ranked No. 25 in the Super 25. But they lost 40-26 at Niles North in Week 1.
“That was humbling,” Davis said. “Last year we made it to the [Class 4A] state semifinals and were one of the best teams in the city. People expected so much from us and we got big-headed thinking we could beat everybody.”
Raby will face Simeon at Gately on Saturday. The Wolverines are undefeated and beat Phillips in Week 3. Davis said he wasn’t surprised that Simeon took down the Wildcats.
“Even the king can be dethroned,” Davis said. “[Simeon] is the new king of the city. It’s the biggest game of the season for us right now. It has to be the best week of practice. Preparation has to be on point.”
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