CN100 Sports Football Preview: IHSA 4A Semifinal - Phillips vs. Johnsburg

charles jefferson
CN100 Game of the Week: Phillips vs. Johnsburg

JOHNSBURG – After becoming the first Chicago Public League school to ever win a state football championship last year, Phillips is ready for an encore in the Class 4A semifinals.

The Wildcats face a stiff challenge in unbeaten Johnsburg, in a game that fans can see on CN100, The Comcast Network, at Noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, and 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 21. You can also watch it anytime in HD with Xfinity On Demand by clicking Get Local and CN100. X1 users, look for Get Local under the Xfinity Services tab.

"Our team is playing pretty well right now," Phillips coach Troy McAllister said. "The tough nonconference schedule is paying dividends right now as we are physically ready for the Class 4A playoffs. With that being said, Johnsburg has been playing outstanding. Traveling to Johnsburg to play in a semifinal game will be the most daunting task that we have faced all year."

McAllister is right about the Wildcats’ nonconference slate. Phillips (10-1, 5-0 Chicago Public Illini Land of Lincoln) opened with an eight-point loss to Fenwick, who is still alive in the Class 7A semifinals. Solid wins over Richards and Simeon followed as the Wildcats ended up 8-1 against playoff teams.

Phillips does a lot of damage on the ground, led by senior running back Kamari Mosby and his 1,549 yards and 24 touchdowns on 133 carries. Junior quarterback J’Bore Gibbs is a dual threat. He’s gone 88-for-148 passing for 1,576 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while also rushing for 605 yards and 13 touchdowns on 74 carries. Junior Craig Elmore adds 456 yards and eight touchdowns on 33 carries. He also leads the team with 90 tackles from his linebacker position, where he contributed five sacks, two interceptions and a defensive touchdown.

Gibbs spreads it around in the passing game. His top targets are sophomore receiver Fabian McCray (22 catches, 367 yards, two touchdowns), senior receiver Jermaine Broadnax (27 catches, 356 yards, five touchdowns), senior receiver Monte Harrington (16 catches, 297 yards, two touchdowns) and sophomore receiver Joe Thompson (12 catches, 272 yards, six touchdowns). Broadnax, Harrington and Thompson are also key parts of the defense.

Up front, the Wildcats are led by 290-pound senior Chris Elmore (80 tackles, 14 sacks) and junior Quenell Morrison (40 tackles, five sacks). Senior linebackers Malcolm Fox and Edwond Sanders combined for 85 tackles and 14 sacks, while senior safeties Malik Brown and Dexter Warren each have 50 tackles and combined for 10 interceptions.

Johnsburg (11-0, 6-0 Kishwaukee River) is in the midst of the best season in program history. A big reason for the success is running back Alex Peete.

"Alex Peete is one of the best running backs in the state, and it will be difficult to contain him," McAllister said.

Peete has rushed for 2,278 yards and 37 touchdowns on 261 carries.

"Alex Peete is the best football player I have ever coached," Johnsburg coach Dan DeBoeuf said. "His work ethic has brought him to this point and he is an incredible young man."

Quarterback Riley Buchanan keeps teams honest, going 104-for-178 for 1,458 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His top target is Nico LoDolce (53 catches, 826 yards, 11 touchdowns). On defense, he starts at linebacker.

Air Force recruit Joe Moore anchors both lines. Dyllan Hess and Jarrid Wagner also start on both lines. Blake Lemcke anchors the secondary and has five return touchdowns.

"We have to make plays on special teams and establish the run against a tough Phillips D," DeBoeuf said.

- Paul Johnson, CN100 Sports Correspondent


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