Phillips Trying to Be First CPS Team Win State in Football
Phillips plays Rochester this Friday at Champaign for the Class 4A state championship.
Longtimers still talk about the 1982 Robeson team that lost to 16-12 to Rockford Guilford in the class 5A state finals. Playing with a roster of only 25 players, Robeson led for most of the game until Guildford scored after a late Robeson turnover. That was the last time a CPS has made the state finals in football. Until this year, Hubbard's 2006 was the last CPS team to make the semi-finals.
Phillips has an opportunity to become the first CPS team to win state in football when they play Rochester this Friday.
Phillips and Simeon have talent all over their roster and should be competitive for years to come. Pictured above is 6-4, 225lb jr defensive end Devin Jones of Phillips. Jones - despite his height, size, and skill does not even start for Phillips. For over 90% of CPS schools, a talent like Jones would be a definite starter.
No team, I don't care who you are makes it to the state finals every year. Even Simeon's basketball team got bounced out of the state playoffs last year before making it downstate.
So the expectation should be not to win state every year, but to field and prepare your team, so your team is in the hunt. Phillips and Simeon have built their program so that their varsity level is ready every year. They may not advance to the semi-finals of state every year, but if they keep up their program, they will be in the picture to advance in the state playoffs every year.
This year, Phillips and Simeon are a "story". The CPS seems to be gaining momentum in the right direction. If we keep putting the effort, there could be a day (soon) when the CPS advances two teams to the state semi-finals and it is not a major story.
King, Curie, and other programs seem to be headed in that direction. Others like Harper, Hubbard, Morgan Park, North Lawndale, Payton, and the other CPS schools will have an opportunity this off season to keep moving in the right direction.
Coal City (left) and Phillips captains listen to pre-game instructions from the referee. From left to right for Phillips is Jamal Brown(6-0,185lbs, SS, sr), Amani Jones(6-0,210lbs, LB/FB, jr), Qyayvon Skanes(5-10,175lbs, WR/FS, jr) and Dewayne Collins(6-2,190lbs, QB,sr).
Coal City has some size and strength. They were led by 6-5, 305lb giant offensive lineman Matt Long(above, 6-5,305lbs,sr) who already has an offer from Indiana State and is being looked at by several D1 programs.
However, Coal City could not stop the Phillips running game the entire game. In this picture Phillips quarterback Dewayne Collins(6-2,190lbs, QB,sr)- an Illinois State recruit, turns the corner for a big gain. Phillips scored two quick touchdowns on their first two posessions on touchdown runs of 3 and 2 yards by Collins. Running back Corey Warren(sr, RB) had 223 yards rushing to lead the Wildcats. The score was 20-6 at the half. The Phillips defense did not give up a single Coaler first down in the 2nd half.
Phillips advances to the Class 4A state championship next Friday vs Rochester at the University of Illinois at Champaign. They become only the second CPS team to advance to the finals - joining Robeson.
Eren Jenkins(sr, WR) had receptions of 41 yards and 76 yards to help Curie win its 2nd city championship over neighborhood rival Hubbard.
Curie 28 Hubbard 7 The Hubbard defense focused on stopping the Curie run game and held Curie all-city runing back Chris Balwdin(jr, RB) to 62 yards rushing. But,Curie wide receiver had a good game receiving the ball including a 76 yard touchdown reception that iced the game for Curie. Curie captured it's 2nd city championship. They face Catholic League champion Loyola in the Prep Bowl on 11 a.m. Friday at Soldier Field.
Simon Negash(6-0, sr, SF) and Lane look to improve from last year. They have a lot of experience returning and should start a lot of seniors. However, Lane did graduate star Admir Suljic - one of Lane's top scorers for the past 10 years - who is now playing for Harper College.
OUT: Lane Thanksgiving Tournament Gone is the Lane Tech Thanksgiving Tournament as it was played in previous years. Also gone is Zion Benton - who decided to play elsewhere. Still remaining is Notre Dame, Mt. Carmel, Evanston, Taft, and host Lane. Also changing is the round robin format they used in the past.
IN: Battle of the Bridge New this year is that Lane and DePaul Prep (formerly Gordon Tech) - located down the block across the bridge from Lane - will both be hosting the tournament. New teams this year will be Harlan, Westinghouse, and host DePaul Prep. Also, changing is the format. It is no longer a round robin tournament. Each team plays 3 different opponents followed by a Championship game, 3rd place game, 5th place game, and 7th place game.
Monday, November 24, 2014 at Lane Notre Dame vs. Mount Carmel, 5 Lane vs. Harlan, 7
at DePaul Prep Evanston vs. Westinghouse, 6 DePaul Prep vs. Taft, 8
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at Lane Harlan vs. Mount Carmel, 5 Lane vs. Notre Dame, 7
at DePaul Prep Taft vs. Westinghouse, 6 DePaul Prep vs. Evanston, 8
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at Lane Notre Dame vs. Harlan, 5 Lane vs. Mount Carmel, 7
at DePaul Prep Taft vs. Evanston, 6 DePaul Prep vs. Westinghouse, 8
Friday, November 28, 2014 at Lane Fifth place game, 6 Championship game, 8
at DePaul Prep Seventh place game, 6 Third place game, 8
Fred Proesel has resigned as head football coach at Lane Tech.
Prosesel became coach at Lane Tech in 2010, with big expectations to continue the school of champions tradition at Lane Tech. However, in the last 5 years under Proesel Lane has not had a winning season. In the history of Lane Tech football, Lane has never had a rougher stretch of 5 years.
William Walton #56, a 6'1 280 Offensive Lineman also the starting Center of Dunbar Is transferring to Simeon.
"The coaches will help me get better at my position. And I get to play with my past teammates that I played with at Odgen Park when we won the mum bowl in 2010," said Walton.
Walton, is coming from a Dunbar program that has a very disciplined line. They are very well coached and seldom make false starts. They really work on repeating the snap and making sure it is perfect. The line is a big reason why the Dunbar run game has been very effective for years.
Simeon already has an impressive line that features 4 all-city lineman. Keevan Agee (6-3, 255, JR) and Terrell McClain-Dupree (6-5, 315, JR) return for Simeon next year. Simeon is keeps stockpiling quality players.
I am hearing reports that Taft football coach Matt Walsh is out at Taft.
Walsh started coaching at Taft in 2004. In two of his first two seasons Taft had only one win. However, in the last 6 seasons, Taft has had at least 7 wins.
I am not 100% of the reason for the move. I do know that new Taft principal Mark Grishaber is trying to improve/change the culture at Taft. Grishaber was the former Assistant Principal at Whitney Young High School When Grishaber got hired last summer he said:
"The entire culture has to change" at Taft...."We can't keep doing things because that is the way we've always done things," said Grishaber.
Simeon and Phillips Both Advance to the State Semi-Finals
Phillips hung on with a 14-13 win over #1 Rockford Lutheran (RLFB photo)
With Simeon's 34-20 win over defending state champion Naperville Central in class 8A and Phillips 14-13 win over #1 and undefeated Rockford Lutheran, the CPS advanced two teams to the state semi-finals in the same season for the first time in history.
The good thing about high school kids is that they usually aren't hampered by limitations of the past. They don't know or are not affected by the fact that previously only 4 CPS teams have even made it to the state semi-finals in football. No matter what so called experts say about predicting future performance by past results, the only thing that matters is on field results right now. And right now both Phillips and Simeon are performing.
Forget about what old timers say. Forget the myth that the CPS is only a basketball conference. In the last several years Mather and Washington have won state in boys soccer, Jones won state in boys cross country, Dunbar and Kelvyn Park finished in the top 6 at state in boys track, and now Phillips and Simeon have already made a huge breakthrough in football.
The CPS is definitely making strides in other sports besides basketball. The results are speaking for themselves.