By J. Coyden Palmer, Chicago Crusader
The Phillips Wildcats began the defense of their 4A football State title with an easy 46-7 victory over Kewanee last Saturday night at Gately Stadium on the South Side. But overall Chicago Public Schools football teams suffered mightily as no other team advanced from the first round in the eight classes. With Phillips winning the first state title by a CPS school in the history of the state tournament last year, CPS football programs were hoping to use it as a springboard for future success. Unfortunately most CPS teams lost by an average of 30+ points in the first round.
Kamari Mosby was the star of the game for Phillips as he has been most of the season, scoring five touchdowns, the first just 66 seconds into the game. Mosby scored on runs of 14, 18, 5 and 49 yards and that was just in the first quarter alone. He finished with 263 yards on 13 carries.
“We knew coming up here that we had a huge task on our hands,” Kewanee coach Tyler Nichols said. “They are a well coached and talented team. We just could not match their overall team speed. We just lost to the best football team I’ve ever seen and they’re a class act.”
Phillips (9-1) also scored on a 75-yard punt return in the first half to take a 46-0 lead at halftime. From there on the Wildcats cruised with a running clock in the second half. Kewanee (6-4) was able to avoid being shut out when they scored on a late fourth quarter 6-yard run by DeShawn Mabalcon.
Phillips Coach Troy Macalister said his team has been playing well since losing on the opening week of the season to Fenwick 34-26. He said the loss was a reality check for his team, which had gone undefeated in 2015. He said the loss taught his team that as the defending champions they would now have a target on their backs.
“I think we all learned real quickly that last year was last year and nobody was just going to roll over for us because we had a trophy,” McAllister said. “I like the way the guys responded though. We got our focus back and we’ve played well all year. But in order to win this title again, we are going to have to string together four more wins.”
Phillips will be facing a tough challenge in the second round as they take on Aurora Central Catholic (9-1), which has a state title or two in their pedigree as well. McAllister said it will probably be the best second round matches up in the playoffs in any class.
“They are a team that knows how to win and we are going to have to be on our game,” he said.
Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Gately Stadium.
As for the rest of CPS football programs, it was a Halloween weekend nightmare. No other team won a game and the only team to be somewhat competitive in their game was Simeon, which lost 17-7 to Glenbrook North in Class 7A. Hubbard lost 35-21 to Galesburg and Morgan Park got hammered by Shepard 41-7 in 6A.
“It’s embarrassing,” said one CPS coach who didn’t want to be identified. “We are better than this as a league. I hope people are not looking at it as Phillips won it last year so we can relax since we got the monkey off our back. Our kids deserve better.”