Herschel Willie’s tough yards help Phillips survive test from Westinghouse

Willie ran 20 times for 154 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats.

SHARE Herschel Willie’s tough yards help Phillips survive test from Westinghouse
Phillips’ Herschel Willie (2) runs over Westinghouse defenders on his way to a first down.

Phillips’ Herschel Willie (2) runs over Westinghouse defenders on his way to a first down.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

At 5-11 and 215 pounds, Phillips senior Herschel Willie is built like the defensive lineman he was until last season. But now he’s a running back, churning out yards and opening things up for the Wildcats’ passing game.

That was the formula for success for Phillips in a 28-19 road victory Saturday against Westinghouse.

Willie ran 20 times for 154 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats (4-2, 3-1 Public League Red). Quarterback Joe Winslow Jr. was 9-for-17 for 120 yards and three touchdowns, two to Darrion McElrath-Bey.

‘‘He had a great offseason,’’ Phillips coach Joe Winslow Sr. said of Willie. ‘‘He’s physically tough, mentally tough. Wants to be the bell cow. We rode him in this game, honestly. We got to the point where there were two plays that were working. We stuck with him, and he got tough yards.’’

The heavy workload, especially after halftime, was fine with Willie.

‘‘I’ve got to do what’s best for the team,’’ he said. ‘‘When we run the ball, it opens up the passing game for the wide receivers. They bite down on the run, and we pass it over the top because we’ve got a good wide-receiver corps.’’

That group includes McElrath-Bey, who had three catches for 50 yards, and Treyshaun Green, who had four receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Phillips fell behind 7-0 when Westinghouse quarterback Askia Bullie threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Leavell Windfield Jr. on the Warriors’ first possession. But the Wildcats scored twice in a three-minute span of the second quarter to take the lead for good.

It was still 14-7 after three quarters before the teams combined for four touchdowns in the last 11 minutes. But with Willie moving the chains, Phillips remained in control.

‘‘At some point, you’ve just gotta latch on to him and ride the wave,’’ Winslow Sr. said.

Winslow Sr. said he expected a competitive game from Westinghouse coach Julius Carter and the Warriors.

‘‘JC always coaches a really good team, a tough team, and they gave us their all, I promise you,’’ Winslow Sr. said.

Now the Wildcats will focus on a South Side rivalry game next week against Simeon. Beyond that, assuming they pick up another victory or two, will be a berth in the IHSA playoffs. It likely will be in Class 3A, the smallest class the former state champs have slotted into.

‘‘We’re always preparing for Week 10,’’ Winslow Sr. said. ‘‘That’s our ultimate goal every week, every day here. This is Phillips. I don’t believe in city championships.’’

Bullie was 15-for-34 for 245 yards with three touchdowns and an interception for Westinghouse (2-4, 1-3). Windfield had four catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns, including a 63-yarder.

‘‘[Bullie] is one of the best quarterbacks in the city,’’ Carter said. ‘‘He definitely showed it today. My kids played hard today against a quality team. That’s all I can ask.’’

The Latest
The longtime NBA executive, who was the Bulls general manager from 1969 to 1973, also helped found the Orlando Magic.
Vance went heavy on mentions of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio — and his humble Appalachian roots documented in ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ — on the third night of the Republican National Convention.
After three piping plover chicks died in the span of five days, the Sun-Times spoke with wildlife experts to understand the risks the young creatures face.
Illinois National Republican Committeeman Richard Porter berated the scandal-plagued Florida congressman for trying to embarrass former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during a television interview.