Herschel Willie’s tough yards help Phillips survive a test from Westinghouse


At 5-11 and 215 pounds, Phillips senior Herschel Willie is built like the defensive lineman he was till last season.

But now he’s a running back, churning out yards and opening things up for the Wildcats’ passing game.

It was the formula for success for Phillips in a 28-19 road win over Westinghouse on Saturday.

Willie ran 20 times for 154 yards and one touchdown for the Wildcats (4-2, 3-1 Public League Red). Quarterback Joe Winslow Jr. was 9 of 17 for 120 yards and three TDs, two to Darrion McElrath-Bey.

“He had a great offseason,” Phillips coach Joe Winslow Sr. said of Willie. “He’s physically tough, mentally tough. Wants to be the bell cow.

“We rode him in this game, honestly. We got to the point where there were two plays that were working. We stuck with him and he got tough yards.”

The heavy workload, especially after halftime, was fine with Willie.

“I’ve got to do what’s best for the team,” he said. “When we run the ball, it opens up the passing game for the wide receivers. They bite down on the run and we pass it over the top because we’ve got a good wide receiver corps.”’

That group includes McElrath-Bey, who had three catches for 50 yards, and Treyshaun Green, who had four receptions for 57 yards and a score.

Phillips fell behind 7-0 when Westinghouse quarterback Askia Bullie threw a 24-yard TD pass to Leavell Windfield Jr. on the Warriors’ first possession of the game. But the Wildcats scored twice in a three-minute span of the second quarter to take the lead for good.

It was still 14-7 after three quarters before the teams combined for four TDs in the final 11 minutes. But with Willie moving the chains, Phillips remained in control.

“At some point you just gotta latch onto him and ride the wave,” Winslow Sr. said.

The Phillips coach expected a competitive game from Westinghouse coach Julius Carter and the Warriors.

“JC always coaches a really good team, a tough team and they gave us their all, I promise you,” Winslow Sr. said.

Now the Wildcats focus on a big South Side rivalry game next week vs., Simeon. Beyond that, assuming they pick up another win or two, will be a berth in the IHSA playoffs. It’ll likely be in Class 3A, the smallest class the former state champs have slotted into.

“We’re always preparing for Week 10,” Winslow Sr. said. “That’s our ultimate goal every week, every day here. This is Phillips. I don’t believe in city championships. That’s the alternative route and I don’t want to go the alternative route.”

Bullie was 15 of 34 for 245 yards with three TDs and one interception for Westinghouse (2-4, 1-3). Windfield had four catches for 130 yards and two scores, including a 63-yarder.

“[Bullie] is one of the best quarterbacks in the city,” Carter said. “He definitely showed it today.

“My kids played hard today against a quality team. That’s all I can ask.”


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