Phillips eliminates Prairie Ridge in 6A
Fourth down just outside midfield, less than two minutes left, Phillips down by three.
Was Jahleel Billingsley worried Saturday afternoon? Nope.
The Alabama-bound senior flipped the ball to Anthony Anderson, who raced 51 yards down the right sideline for the decisive touchdown with 1 minute, 47 seconds remaining. Just like that, Phillips had another dramatic win, 24-19 over Prairie Ridge in a battle of 2017 state champions at Gately Stadium.
The Wildcats (9-2), who are trying to win their third state title in three classes over a four-year span, go to Cary-Grove (11-0) next weekend for a Class 6A quarterfinal. Prairie Ridge, the two-time defending 6A winner, finished 8-3.
Billingsley again jump-started the Phillips offense by moving to the Wildcat formation, this time at the start of the second quarter. And the 6-foot-5, 225-pounder showed off yet another dimension by throwing a 20-yard touchdown pass to Illinois recruit Fabian McCray.
For all that, Phillips still trailed 19-16 when it faced fourth-and-2 from its 49. Billingsley wasn’t nervous.
“I felt like either way we would have got the first down, if I had kept the ball or given it to (Anderson),” Billingsley said. “I was just glad he was able to break it ... and put us up.”
Anderson, a 5-10, 175-pound junior, ran 16 times for 137 yards. He also went 21 yards around left end for a touchdown that put Phillips ahead 16-9 with 1:39 left in the third quarter.
Billingsley added 81 yards on 13 carries, picking up a Wildcats offense that managed just 11 yards in the first quarter.