For the second straight year, a team of Sports Illustrated videographers filmed the Wildcats for the publication's "Underdogs" series, which highlights schools facing immense challenges. The 25-minute piece debuted Tuesday.
"The SI crew was awesome," McAllister said. "They're kind of in your face, but you don't notice them. They did a great job of working around our schedule."
This past season, the Wildcats became just the second Chicago Public League football team to ever reach an IHSA state championship game. The SI team filmed Phillips over two weeks, which included its state semifinal win over Coal City and championship game loss to Rochester.
"I had tears watching the video," McCallister said. "Sports Illustrated did an amazing job of telling the story of the Phillips Wildcats and of our young men."
The video features several poignant moments, including Jamal Brown being forced to move in with assistant coach Michael Larson because he was afraid of violence on his block. It also plays a phone call from Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the team.
The team also was featured last year on the program.
"It was nice they did a follow-up story on us," McAllister said. "It's kind of cool for us to get recognition for what our young men are doing."
Sports Illustrated producer Collin Orcutt said following Phillips' football program for a second time "was a unique experience for us."
"There aren’t many stories out there like the one Wendell Phillips and its players and coaches have," Orcutt said. "What stands out most is the attitude that everyone at the school embodies. It’s this idea that there is adversity in life, but it shouldn’t have the final say on the type of person you become, and it should be met head on. It’s what Coach McAllister and his staff preach on the field, and it carries over to the students’ lives off of it."
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