Phillips shakes off 504-day layoff, beats Westinghouseon April 3, 2021 at 11:33 pm

Jacoby Erving waited for his moment. The Phillips senior was the fourth string running back last season. And it has been 504 days between football games for the Wildcats. That’s a lot of time for anyone, but it feels even longer to high school kid.

So when Erving finally had his chance, he took total advantage. Erving took his first touch of the game, a handoff on Phillips’ second play, all the way to the house for a 50-yard touchdown run.

The Wildcats beat Westinghouse 46-6 on Saturday at Solorio. Erving and fellow running back Jamel Britt each scored three touchdowns.

“Throughout these 500 days I’ve been working and working and working,” Erving said. “We only have four games but I’m going to show out and ball.”

Erving had seven carries for 133 yards. He scored on the 50-yard run, a three-yard run and a 20-yard run.

Erving is small, fast and shifty. Britt is a punishing, 220-pound runner. He had six carries for 55 yards. Britt caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Phillips quarterback Tyler Turner and had a seven-yard and a 12-yard touchdown run.

“When I’m back there they think I’m a speed back and I can’t run people over,” Erving said. “And when [Britt] is back there they think it’s for short yardage. But he is versatile too. He can run and bust through a whole just like me.”

Chicago Public Schools began allowing limited fans at games this week.

“We were going to come out and do our thing with or without fans but to have the people here that love us and enjoy watching us play, it is so much better,” Britt said. “It motivates us.”

Turner, a junior, was 10-for-22 for 170 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception.

“The two senior running backs really stepped up,” Phillips coach Troy McAllister said. “They’ve both waited their turn patiently and they both stood up today.”

Phillips’ backbone was its defense. The Wildcats held Westinghouse, which beat Lincoln Park 26-0 last week, to just four yards rushing and 39 yards passing.

“We try to limit every opponent we face to negative yards,” Phillips linebacker Steven Hirsch said. “This is a great accomplishment but we still have work to do.”

Hirsch, who has committed to Wisconsin-Platteville, was worried he’d show up at college with one fewer season under his belt than everyone else, so just playing on Saturday felt like a gift.

“It’s amazing,” Hirsch said. “I was scared that all my future teammates would have full 14-game seasons and I’d be on the outside looking in and it was really tough. Even just four games, it is a blessing.”

Westinghouse (1-1) scored midway through the first quarter on a 90-yard interception return by senior LaDainian Linnear.

“That was a learning experience,” Warriors coach Julius Carter said. “We are a really young team. With the spring season popping up on us we are missing a few kids. We had a good win last week and now we played one of the top teams in the state. We have to bounce back, review the film, fix our mistakes and get ready for Lane.”

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