After impressive regular seasons and convincing opening round playoff wins, the matchup between the Aurora Central Catholic Chargers (9-2) and host Phillips (10-1) proved to be very one-sided.
Phillips junior quarterback J'Bore Gibbs stole the show running wild for 167 yards on 6 carries and 3 touchdowns while also completing 5 of 7 passes for 34 yards and no interceptions. Aurora Central Catholic simply did not have an answer for him and ultimately took the loss 50-16 in a Class 4A second round playoff game at Gately Stadium in Chicago Saturday.
"We were a little sloppy tonight" said Phillips head coach Troy McAllister. "We committed too many penalties, but we made enough plays to get through and see another day. We go on the road now and face the No. 1 seed in Herscher. We have a big challenge coming up."
Phillips opened the scoring early in the first quarter when senior wide receiver Monte Harrington took an end around to the house from 59 yards out, a lead that Phillips would not relinquish.
"First, we executed," said Phillips junior quarterback J'Bore Gibbs. "Even with the mistakes we made we still stayed focused and got the win, as that was our ultimate goal today."
While they were down 44-0 at halftime, the Chargers would not go down without a fight. Midway through the third quarter, after recovering a Phillips fumble in Wildcat territory, senior quarterback Johnny Belskis hooked up with fellow senior Griffin Zajac on a 22-yard touchdown pass to make the game 44-8.
After that touchdown, it felt as if there was a glimmer of hope for the Chargers. However, Phillips responded on the following drive with a 68-yard touchdown run by freshman Ronald Pledger to make it 50-8 and eliminate any comeback plans for the Chargers.
Belskis ended the day completing 7 of 23 passes for 97 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Junior running back Ryan Cerza led the way on the ground for the Chargers, but like Belskis, didn't find much success against the relentless Phillips defense. He ended the day with 27 yards on 13 carries.
"Today was like playing a CPS All-Star team" said Aurora Central Catholic head coach John Belskis on playing Phillips. "I'm not sure who is going to beat them, but it doesn't diminish what we accomplished this year with our program. None of these kids were alive the last time we were in the second round of the playoffs. I'm very proud of what they did this season."