Phillips dominates Dunlap, wins Class 5A title

Phillips holds up the Class 5A state trophy at Huskie Stadium, November 25, 2017 Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

DEKALB—It took a few years, but the transformation from unlikely underdog to turnover chain-wearing powerhouse is complete. Phillips doesn’t fit the Cinderella narrative any longer, coach Troy McAllister has built a juggernaut.

The Wildcats beat Dunlap 33-7 on Saturday at Huskie Stadium. Anthony Davis ripped off a 64-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Phillips was never challenged after that.

“Getting the early lead makes a huge difference for us, it changes everything,” McAllister said. “Offensively we are able to do things that help us win a ballgame.”

Running back/linebacker Craig Elmore sported the turnover chain, a large gold “P” dangling around his neck. The senior recovered a fumble and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter that made it 14-0. He added a one-handed interception later in the game.

“I actually tried to swat the ball down, I didn’t think it was going to land in my hand like that,” Elmore said. “It was an amazing feeling, I did a spin move and was able to stay on my feet.

The Elmore brothers have officially cemented a lasting legacy in Public League football. Elmore and his older brother Chris both played on the Phillips team that won the Public League’s first state title in 2015.

“I shed a few tears after the game, but it was all in joy,” Craig Elmore said.

Elmore had 18 carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns.

“Having a guy like Craig to hand the ball off to covers up a lot of mistakes,” McAllister said. “And the senior leadership you can’t say enough about it. I know it’s a cliche but having J’Bore [Gibbs] and [Elmore] at quarterback and running back makes a huge difference, it just does. The pressure of games, the situations that arrive. The coaches were more flustered than the players.”

Gibbs was 11 for 23 for 130 yards and one touchdown. Jahleel Billingsley caught five passes for 22 yards. All-Area linebacker Terrance Taylor was a dominant force with seven tackles and three sacks for the Wildcats (14-0).

A dozen Public League football programs folded during this season, generating a flood of negative headlines. But thanks to Phillips’ state title and Raby’s run to the Class 4A state semifinals, this will be remembered as one of the city’s best football seasons.

“There are going to be programs that don’t survive,” McAllister said. “But the talent is there for CPS football to have an opportunity, in any number of classes, to be state champs.”

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13 comments

  • kenneth brown

    Congratulations to Wendell Phillips Wildcats for a great undefeated season. Class 5A State Champions. To be champions two out of the last three years is quite an accomplishment. I salute and give lots of credit to the coach McAlister and the assistants for moulding these young to play as a team and not as indiviuals. Kenneth Brown Class of 1971

  • Betty Bolden

    All of us in the Wendell Phillips Hall of Fame salute you and know your team will be joining us in the future! “For she stands for right and duty!” Betty Bolden/Class of ’61

  • prepfootball89

    only reason why they won is they got a few catholic league guy to transfer and the only reason they won against loyola was they didn’t have a healthy team

  • Overrated Ditka

    Only saw two of their games, but not only were they dominated on the field, but how they acted on the field was equally impressive. These kids have overcome lots of obstacles, and home for great things in the future.

  • Leallen

    I been watching Phillips all year one thing that’s good about them they’ve work ethic you’ll see them working out on their own at Mandrake Park from December-July and that’s what you call strive for greatness

  • Kevin Kennedy

    Congratulations Wildcats!! As a fellow public league graduate (Dunbar 1977) I have followed your progression. I was at your game in Champaign when you lost to Rochester. I wanted to witnessed the first Public league championship. I hope to make it next year to Dekalb when you defend your championship.

  • Rochelle Thomas

    I’m so proud of these young men!! Great job! Keep striving for sucess!! Go Wildcats!! Class of 1984

  • Lashaun Parks

    Congratulations WILDCATS! I am so proud of these guys. They are student athletes with goals and purpose. I enjoy watching them practice everyday and going onto the field and dominating on game days. I’m not only the proud mom of #25 RayShaun Thompson but also a proud team mom of the wildcats. I can just imagine how proud the city is of these guys for having a perfect season all the way to the becoming state champs. WAY TO GO WILDCATS!

  • Keith Wilson

    It’s fun watching those guys work out on their own over at Oakwood and Cottage in the fall.Great work ethic.

  • C. A. Guss

    The Wendell Phillips Wildcats are thr pride of Bronzeville and all of Chicago. Congratulations on your perfect season.

  • Curt colbert

    I have watched my nephews(Craig and Chris Elmore) get a chance to do something that every young man in Chicago would like to. They were blessed to be able to go to school every day without being threaten and play sports. Why can’t all kids have that chance?

  • Craig S. Siller

    Congratulations Wildcats, you do us proud on an off the field. State Champs!!!

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