Preps Talk

Power Rankings: #3 - Phillips

Power Rankings: #3 - Phillips

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Phillips

Head coach: Troy McAllister

How they fared in 2017: 14-0 (5-0 CPL Illini Land of Lincoln Conference). Phillips made the 5A state playoff field, defeated Morgan Park, Solorio, Lemont and Sterling. They went on to defeat Dunlap in the state championship game.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 26 @ Pickerington Central (Ohio)

Sept. 1 vs Chaminade (St. Louis) at East St. Louis

Sept. 8 vs Simeon at Gately

Sept. 14 vs Lincoln Park at Mandrake

Sept. 21 vs Morgan Park at Mandrake

Sept. 28 vs Curie at Rockne Stadium

Oct. 6 at Lane Tech

Oct. 12 vs Westinghouse at Mandrake

Oct. 19 vs Raby at Lane Tech

[MORE: 62 Days to Kickoff - Lincoln Park]

Biggest storyline: With the Wildcats moving up to Class 6A, can they claim another state title this November?

Names to watch this season: TE Jahleel Billingsley (Alabama) and WR/S Fabian McCray (Illinois)

Biggest holes to fill: The Wildcats will need to replace quite a bit of offensive production, due to the graduation losses of QB J'Bore Gibbs (South Dakota State) and RB Craig Elmore (Kent State).

EDGY's Early Take: No one can ever accuse Phillips and/or head coach Troy McAllister of avoiding any challenges.  The Wildcats will again play "up" in competition, going from Class 5A to 6A this season. They also will play some national powers in Pickerington Central (Ohio) right out of the gate on live TB. The following week, they take on St. Louis-area power Chaminade. That game will be in East St. Louis at the annual Scholar Classic Showdown. As far as the roster is concerned, Phillips is stacked once again with FBS-level talent. If they feel that they have found answers over the summer at a few key spots, they have all the potential to play with --and beat-- any team in Illinois on any given day, regardless of class. 

High School Lites Basketball Preview: Week 3

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

High School Lites Basketball Preview: Week 3

High School Lites has plenty of great highlights from across the area this week. We have some ranked teams in the Public League, South suburbs and North suburbs, as well as highlights of some other enticing matchups as well. This week's Wintrust Athlete of the Week is Brother Rice's Marquise Kennedy, as we'll have more on the Loyola commit's hot start. High School Lites airs at 11 p.m. on Friday night on NBC Sports Chicago. Follow us on Twitter on @NBCSPreps for the latest IHSA Basketball updates.

THURSDAY'S GAMES

No. 12 Simeon at No. 2 Curie, 5:00 p.m. -- The Public League Red-South/Central features another major early-season clash in this one. The Wolverines (1-4, 1-1) have struggled out of the gate after a recent double-overtime loss to Bogan as a young team tries to figure out playing a difficult national schedule. Curie (9-0, 2-0) has come out of the gate red-hot as they earned a blowout win over Morgan Park earlier in the week. Condors senior DaJuan Gordon is looking like a Player of the Year candidate with his strong start. 

FRIDAY'S GAMES

Taft at Payton, 5:00 p.m. -- The two unbeatens in the Public League White-North battle in this one. Taft (4-5, 3-0) has three straight wins, including a thrilling two-point win over Mather on Wednesday. Payton (5-2, 3-0) is also on a three-game winning streak as they have an impressive early win over De La Salle. 

Dundee-Crown at Crystal Lake South, 7:00 p.m. [GIRLS] -- A Fox Valley Friday night conference game should be intriguing. Dundee-Crown (8-3, 4-0) is one of the league's best teams as they've only fallen to opponents with undefeated records. The Chargers knocked off Riverside-Brookfield to begin Oak Lawn Holiday Tournament play on Wednesday. Crystal Lake South (3-6) took down Marian Central in a non-conference game earlier this week as the Gators try to earn a conference win. 

Niles North at No. 4 Evanston, 7:00 p.m. -- The Central Suburban South is never an easy league as this one will be fun. Niles North (4-2, 1-1) fell to ranked Glenbrook South last Friday night as they're one the road against a ranked opponent for the second straight week. Evanston (6-1, 1-1) has a talented group of guards led by Southern Illinois commit Lance Jones, Jaheim Holden and Ryan Bost. 

No. 20 Uplift at Marshall, 6:30 p.m. -- Two teams off to good starts in the Public League Red North/West face here. Uplift (5-2, 2-1) took down Crane earlier this week in league play as senior Markese Jacobs is a Player of the Year candidate. Marshall (5-1, 2-1) has only lost to No. 1 Whitney Young this season as they've been one of the Public League's more underrated teams.

Lincoln Park at No. 1 Whitney Young, 7:00 p.m. -- Staying in the Public League Red North/West, this should be a good test for No. 1 Whitney Young. The Dolphins (6-1, 2-0) remain unbeaten in Illinois as junior guards D.J. Steward and Tyler Beard are a force to reckon with. Whitney Young, however, needed everything to avoid upset against Prosser on Wednesday. Lincoln Park (4-4, 1-2) has a busy week as they lost to Orr on Wednesday. The Lions have an intriguing junior in big man Romelle Howard as they'll try to take advantage inside. 

Plainfield South at No. 23 Romeoville, 6:30 p.m.  --  We head to the Southwest Prairie for this one. Plainfield South (2-5, 0-1) has played a bit better than their record indicates as four of their five losses have come by four points or less. Romeoville (6-1, 1-0) lost its first game of the season to Bolingbrook this week as the Spartans find themselves back in the top 25. Junior Destin Whitaker is a player to watch for Romeoville while senior guard Mike Salter is a veteran presence. 

Shepard at Lemont, 7:00 p.m. -- An intriguing South Suburban crossover in this one. Shepard (6-2, 2-1) is in the mix in the Red with a number of teams as they've already earned two straight road wins entering this one. Lemont (4-5, 1-1) has two straight losses by three or less as they've been close to breaking through during a sluggish start. Senior Nate Ferguson is committed to Drake as he's one of the area's better forwards. 

No. 3 Bloom at No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00 p.m.  -- This non-conference battle is a rematch of an overtime thriller we saw earlier this season when Bloom beat Homewood-Flossmoor for the title of the Chicago Heights Classic. The Blazing Trojans (9-0, 2-0) are playing at an elite level to start the season as they've already earned some quality wins over teams like the Vikings and Morgan Park. Homewood-Flossmoor (5-1, 1-0) hopes to avenge their only loss of the season so far as they prepare for the loaded Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic later this month. 

No. 21 Downers Grove North at Glenbard West, 7:30pm -- This one has a chance to be really good in the West Suburban Silver. Downers North (7-0, 2-0) comes in unbeaten thanks in large part to the dynamic senior backcourt of Semaj Henderson and Trey Boston. Glenbard West (6-2, 0-1) counters with Southern Illinois commit Evan Taylor as they try to make a move in conference play following an early loss to York. 

Viewers' Choice Game Of The Week

Guerin at Elmwood Park, 7 p.m. -- We head to the Metro Suburban Red for our Viewers' Choice matchup this week. Guerin (0-6, 0-2) is trying to get in the win column this season while Elmwood Park (5-4, 1-0) lost earlier this week to Westmont to snap a three-game winning streak. This game won a tight race that featured over 1,600 votes as we had a strong turnout for our Metro Suburban week. 

High School Hoops Holiday Tournament Primer

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

High School Hoops Holiday Tournament Primer

The Holiday Tournament season is quickly approaching as we're two weeks away from all of them getting started. Now that some fields for events have been released, we take a look at some local holiday tournaments to watch in the upcoming weeks. We'll be adding more holiday tournaments to this list as fields come out as High School Lites and the @NBCSPreps Twitter account will have plenty of coverage of holiday events. 

Pontiac Holiday Tournament

Dates: Dec. 27-29

Team to Watch: The always-loaded field includes Public League powerhouses like Simeon and Curie along with suburban greats like Bloom, Benet and Oak Park-River Forest. It'll be fascinating to see if Bloom can emerge victorious after the strong start as the young Blazing Trojans have already won some huge early-season games.

Must-see First-Round Matchup: Oak Park-River Forest matching up with West Aurora could be a semifinal in some events, but it falls on 9 p.m. on opening night as two former top-25 teams with plenty of senior star power do battle.

Proviso West Holiday Tournament

Dates: Dec. 26-29

Team to Watch: Plenty of great teams highlight this field, including top 25 teams like Whitney Young, Bogan, Uplift and Leo. Some really good teams in the middle of the field include Hillcrest, Fenwick and Proviso East. But the Dolphins are the No. 1 team in the area with the starpower to back it up. They'll be favorites to claim this title.  

Must-see First-Round Matchup: Fenwick and Dunbar has a chance to be pretty intriguing. As of this writing, Dunbar stand at an unbeaten 7-0 and leaders of the Public League White-Central. The Friars will still be the favorites behind sophomore Bryce Hopkins, but if Dunbar remains unbeaten this one could be a ton of fun. 

Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic 

Dates: Dec. 26-29

Team to Watch: A holiday event with five ranked teams (Willowbrook, Oswego East, Homewood-Flossmoor, Marian Catholic, DePaul Prep), this might be the most wide-open field of any. DePaul Prep is the team to watch here among the ranked teams. The Rams would love to win a big event to gain some confidence for the postseason, as this team would love to play in Peoria. 

Must-see First-Round Matchup: St. Charles East and Stevenson should be two pretty even teams off to pretty good starts this season. The Patriots are in the mix in the North Suburban while the Saints have some solid early wins.

Wheeling Hardwood Classic

Dates: Dec. 26-29

Team to Watch: Wheeling has a resurgence this year as ranked teams include Waukegan, Glenbrook South and St. Viator. Niles North is another team to keep an eye on as this field could have a lot of potential winners. The Lions will be the team to track the most, as they're a top-ten team who lost their Thanksgiving event earlier this year to Evanston. 

Must-see First-Round Matchup: Deerfield battles Buffalo Grove as both teams are off to 2-0 starts in conference play after sluggish starts. If both of these teams continue clicking then this might be the closest first-round matchup. 

State Farm Holiday Classic

Dates: Dec. 26-29

Team to Watch: Kenwood is the top seed at the large-school field in Bloomington, as they have tough competition from all over the state. The Broncos have Joliet Central, Metamora, Rock Island to contend with among a field that has hopefuls from Class 3A and 4A. 

Must-see First-Round Matchup: Rock Island will get a major test against North Lawndale. Don't be fooled by the Phoenix's 3-3 record -- they're a very tough out.