Back of the Yards has only been open for five years and is playing just its third football season. The Bobcats spent their first two seasons rising through the Public League’s non-state playoff eligible conferences. This season, playing in the Chicago Great Lakes, was their first shot at qualifying for the state playoffs. They have taken full advantage of the opportunity.
“Wooo, yes,” Back of the Yards’ Jeremiah Harris said. “It was the goal this season. For a second I thought our chances were slim, but after the first three games I thought we had it. Now there’s no looking back.”
The Bobcats beat visiting Ellison 48-6 on Thursday.
Harris is the quarterback and plays defensive back. He finished 4-for-8 passing for 101 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The 6-3, 170-pound senior also had eight carries for 80 yards, including a terrific 27-yard touchdown run in which he threw off two tacklers.
“[Harris] has improved tremendously this season,” Back of the Yards coach Sheamus Murphy said. “He leads us both offensively and defensively. He’s made big strides in the passing game and he is absolutely loving defense. I think that will be his best position as far as college is concerned.”
McKendree, Winona State and Wisconsin-Platteville have shown interest in Harris.
“I’m just trying to take it one week at a time and not go overboard,” Harris said. “We want to play smart. We put all our hard work in over the summer and now we see it paying off.”
Back of the Yards beats Ellison 48-6. Coach Sheamus Murphy gets the Gatorade bath. pic.twitter.com/LWifHgM06G
— Michael O'Brien (@michaelsobrien) October 12, 2017
Sophomore running back Horace Murff had 15 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown for the the Bobcats (7-1, 6-0 Chicago Great Lakes). Junior Carl McNickles caught a 53-yard and a 16-yard touchdown pass.
“We’ve been trying to get our name out there for awhile,” McNickles said. “People say this is a soccer school or a wrestling school. We tried our best over the summer to prove that wrong.”
Murphy was impressed with his players’ commitment over the summer.
“This was our best summer by far with attendance and commitment to what we are doing,” Murphy said. “That’s why they accomplished this playoff goal. We knew we had a lot of guys coming back so we felt we had a good shot at it. We had a couple of question marks on defense and some guys really stepped up for us.”
Senior Kevon Given had three carries for 50 yards and two touchdowns for Back of the Yards, which expects to be in Class 5A in the playoffs.
Ellison (2-6, 1-4) was outmanned and playing in mis-matched uniforms. But the Lions’ played hard until the final whistle.
Quarterback Zackery Lipscomb, a sophomore, connected with Tommie Evans for a four-yard touchdown pass with 2:23 to play.
“We weren’t going to give up,” Ellison senior Cimarron Hunt said. “We play until the end and leave all our blood out there.”
Hunt is a dangerous, stylish kick returner.
“That’s my favorite part, I like to dance a little bit and play with them,” Hunt said. “This season has been a learning experience. Losing is tough, but I try to grow a little every game.Tags: back of the yards, ellison