Four Downs: News, notes and observations from Week 9

Phillips coach Troy McAllister on the strike, Tyler Morris’ breakout season, Coal City magic and more.

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Phillips’ Antonio Brown (8) carries the ball against Simeon.

Phillips’ Antonio Brown (8) carries the ball against Simeon.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Phillips football coach Troy McAllister, a member of the Chicago Teachers Union, knows exactly what needs to be done over the next few days to end the teachers strike.

“It is time to lock the doors and not leave until it is done,” McAllister said. “We are focused on the students of the future and forgetting about the students of now.”

The Wildcats and the other 19 Public League teams in the state football playoffs need the two sides to come to an agreement before Wednesday or all the teams will be forced to forfeit their first round games.

“The students have handled [the strike] like mature young men,” McAllister said. “But the clock is ticking where the frustration is really going to set in. If we aren’t back in school by Wednesday, you are going to see a lot of frustrated young men across the city.”

Phillips hosts Lincoln-Way West in the first round and would play the Normal vs. Reavis winner in the second round with Mount Carmel possibly waiting in the quarterfinals.

Tyler Morris has arrived

Nazareth sophomore Tyler Morris will be one of the state’s star attractions over the next few seasons. In fact, he already may be one of the most electrifying players.

Morris had six receptions for 70 yards in a win at Notre Dame in Week 8. He sealed the win with a 74-yard touchdown run in the final minute.

Morris was at it again on Saturday against Benet, catching two touchdown passes and one interception. He also plays defense.

“That kid is out of this world,” Nazareth quarterback JJ McCarthy said after the Notre Dame game. “And he’s a great kid and a great student.”

Nazareth’s Tyler Morris (8) runs the ball against Notre Dame.

Nazareth’s Tyler Morris (8) runs the ball against Notre Dame.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Morris played on the varsity as a freshman. He has offers from Arizona State, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin.

Merger success

There was a lot of controversy when the Chicago Catholic League and the East Suburban Catholic conference merged after last football season. It’s incredibly silly that they haven’t come up with a real name for the conference. Right now they are going with the CCL/ESCC.

The merger is a huge success on the field 16 of the conference’s 24 teams made the playoffs, which is what the four-team divisions were meant to insure. Marian Catholic, which hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2010, was one of the schools that benefited.

Coalers magic

Something special appears to be happening in Coal City this season. The Coalers are 9-0 and have outscored their opponents 353-87.

Coal City beat previously undefeated Wilmington in Week 8. Running back Daniel Jezik ripped off 245 yards and three touchdowns. The Coalers are a No. 1 seed in the Class 4A state playoffs and will host Phoenix in the first round.

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