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Wendell Phillips’ quest for state champs

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They’ve overcome tremendous odds, just to get an education, and now another group of Chicago students are on the verge of making history.

Wendell Phillip’s football team is in Champaign playing for a state championship.

If they win, it will be the first in the history of Chicago Public League teams.

Keep in mind, Wendell Phillips is the city’s oldest black school, but in recent years, has struggled academically.

But it seems all that is changing, with the football team aiding in the turnaround.

The Wildcats carrying a record of 12 and 1, the only CPS high school to make it to the state finals, since Robeson 32 years ago.

If the Wildcats win tonight, they’d be the first public school team to bring a State Football Championship home to Chicago.

They’ve come a long way, in more ways than one.

Forty young men apart of the Wendell Phillips Wildcats headed to Champaign to make history.

“We’re hoping to become tonight the first team in Chicago Public School history to win a football state championship.”

They’re competing in class 4A up against four time defending champions Sangamon County’s Rochester High School.”

“This game is very important to us because we came from like nothing and we build ourselves all the way up.”

Dewayne Collins, the team’s leader and quarterback…

He remembers starting here 4 years ago, shortly after it was named a turnaround school ranking second to last in the state.

But now test scores, graduation rates, and morale is climbing.

“We really tried to push to try to fix the culture and the climate within the building. We’ve achieved that and now there’s education occurring and the success of our school has gone hand in hand with our football program.”

“The school actually looks up to them. They look up to them as heroes.”

Before taking off, the team received some TLC.

“Exhale release…whoosh”

And a lot of love from family, their fellow classmates, and the community.

“My son, Kamari Mosley. Number 6! Let’s go Wildcats!”

“I am ecstatic. I am lost for words. I am so proud of these young men.”

These fans also boarding buses headed down to cheer on their Wildcats in the stands tonight.

“Our young men overcome so much on a daily basis that they’re up for this challenge and this something that we’ve been talking about all year long. This has been out goal to win a state championship and come away with a victory.”

Win or lose, Wendell Phillips will be having a pep rally for the team Tuesday.

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