The "Behind the Paws Show," hosted and produced by students at the Bronzeville school, has been featuring several Wildcats football players and revealing some of their background stories and rituals as Phillips hopes to become the first Chicago Public League football team to win a state title.
Justin Breen says the student-run show has highlighted the team's miraculous run:
Defensive player Micah Watkins told the show's hosts — seniors Savannah Ingram and Orlanda Ford — he does 20 pushups before every game. Defensive lineman Jacari Neil said he likes to eat a doughnut, chug an energy drink and pray to God before kickoff. Star quarterback DeWayne Collins said the Wildcats' pregame ritual is holding a rope to "symbolize their unity and brotherhood."
Phillips is just the second CPL squad to reach the state championship game. Robeson's 1982 club lost to Rockford Guilford in the Class 5A final.
"We are very excited to be a part of something extraordinary," said Ford, of Hyde Park.
"We are making history," Ingram added.
The "Behind the Paws" show originated in August 2012 as a way to creatively deliver the news to the school's students and staff, said K.C. Boyd, Phillips' library media specialist and director of social media. The show, which won a Chicago Public Schools Spotlight on Technology Award in 2013, airs about once every two weeks, Boyd said.
Ford and Ingram, who have been part of the show since its beginning, said it's helped them learn many technology skills.
"'Behind the Paws' gave me a broader experience about thinking about careers in technology, strengthened my leadership skills and introduced me to new horizons," said Ingram.
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