CHICAG0-- The Phillips WIldcats 2017 football season kicked off with a bang under the bright lights of Gately Stadium this past Saturday evening.
Taking on the Catholic league powerhouse, Loyola Ramblers, the Wildcats were looking to send a message that they will be a force to reckon with this year. Scoring 3 touchdowns on the way to a 20-14 victory, WIldcats senior quarterback J'Bore Gibbs helped his team send that message loud and clear.
"We just wanted to come out on the field and give our all really." Gibbs said. "I was talking to my brothers before the game and I preached that we have to just play our brand of football. Wildcat football." he continued.
The first half found the two football powerhouses stuck in a defensive struggle, with both squads picking up early turnovers and struggling to move the ball on the offensive end. But Gibbs charged the early ineffectiveness to jitters. "It was the first half, of the first game, of the last season for some of the guys on the team so I charge a lot of that to jitters. We have been a team that over the last couple years is known to come out in the 2nd half and show out."
And show out they did. Picking up a TD on the first drive of the 2nd half, Phillips added to their 1 point half time lead and never looked back.
"Coming out in the 2nd half we really focused on getting our assignments down key. Coach was telling me what plays we were going to run in the locker room so I already had an idea in my mind of how we were going to play and the coverage I was going to see and it all played out on the field in the 2nd half."
The importance of J'Bore's three touchdowns were magnified as the game came down to a goal line stand. With the Wildcats leading 20-14 , Loyola made one final push to snatch the game from the grips of Phillips. Driving hard, with the ball inside of the 3 yard line on 4th and goal and 4 seconds remaining on the clock, the Ramblers failed to convert and the Wildcat's first victory of the season was sealed. "I knew our defense was going to hold it down," J'Bore said. "They hold it down all the time,everyday. They hold it down on me in practice so I expected them to do the same with the game on the line. They are the number one defense in the state if you ask me."
With one win in the books. J'Bore stressed that the best is stil yet to come and that the season is a marathon, not a sprint.
"This was a huge win, most definitely, but we just have to keep our poise. Keep our humbleness.It's just the first game we have a whole lot of the season left, 13 more games to be exact, Lord willing. So we just come out next week and try to play better than we did this week."