Phillips win 30-24 over Lincoln-Way West in IHSA State Playoffs

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Phillips' Ronald Pledger comes down with the game-winning 22-yard touchdown catch, despite tight defense from Lincoln-Way West's Justin Harris, on the final play of the game as Phillips beat the Warriors 30-24 on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Gately Stadium in Chicago. (Photo Credit: CHIP DELORENZO, 22ND CENTURY MEDIA)

By Joseph Phillips
Sports Writer, Chicago Crusader

Last second miraculous touchdown catch clinches Phillips win over Lincoln-Way West

Thanks to a miraculous touchdown catch by wide receiver Ronald Pledger as time expired, the Phillips Wildcats advanced to the second round of the 7A IHSA State playoffs with a 30-24 win over Lincoln-Way West on Saturday evening at Gately Stadium.

With the game tied at 24 all and 7.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Phillips QB Antonio Brown would make one of the most clutch plays of his career. Tossing a 22-yard game winning touchdown pass to Pledger in the back of the end zone.

Pledger managed to grab Brown’s 22-yard pass out of the air, then land with his feet in the back of the end zone (on the final play of the game) as time expired.

The catch by Pledger on Saturday evening not only helped the Wildcats earn their first ever win on the 7A IHSA State playoff level, but earned them a match-up with the Normal Community High School Ironmen next weekend.

“Our best player went up to make a play on the last play of the game,” said Troy McAllister, head coach of the Wildcats. “This type of ballgame is the reason we wanted to come to 7A. Win or lose we wanted this type of game.”

“I couldn’t go home like this my senior year,” said Pledger after the catch.”So I had to ice the game.”

In addition to his game winning TD catch, Pledger also had an interception during the game.

Prior to winning its first ever 7A IHSA State playoff game in 2019, the Wildcats have won two state titles on smaller class levels.

Joseph Phillips is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 15 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at sports@chicagocrusader.com.

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