CHICAGO (CBS) — A year ago, we were captivated by the incredible comeback story of Phillips Academy both on the football field and in the classroom. CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke reports that the Wildcats are once again on the verge of making history as they take on Geneseo Saturday in the 4A state football quarterfinals.
“We do everything together,” Phillips Academy receiver/safety Quayvon Skanes says. “We’re basically family.”
It’s a focused and determined family. Undefeated Wendell Phillips is only the second Chicago Public League school to make it to the Illinois state football final. They fell short last season, and it still stings.
“Any time you get that far and you are that last step and don’t achieve the goal you want, it’s tough, but this group of seniors we have is really dedicated to push themselves to get back there,” head coach Troy McAllister says.
The state runner-up trophy is right by the front entrance of the school as a constant reminder they fell short. The Wildcats want to move it to a different trophy case and win a state championship, not only for themselves but for the entire city.
“It would mean a lot and would open up more opportunity for other students,” Skanes says.
Many students have overcome hardship off the field, but after their successful run last season, Wildcat players are being recruited more. Four players have committed to big Division-I schools, including linebacker Amani Jones, who earned a scholarship to Iowa.
“It’s truly a blessing they are getting these opportunities and a testament to our school that academically these young men are qualifying,” coach McAllister says.
“It means a lot to me knowing that I can go to college for free and play something I love is great,” Jones adds.