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THURSDAY, AUGUST 30, 2007
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Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer

Nose to nose with . . .
West Morgan Highís Justin Phillips

West Morgan High linebacker Justin Phillips has prepared for his senior season for a long time. A two-year starter, Phillips has played with the varsity for four years. In the days leading to the opening game of his final football season as a Rebel, Phillips took time for 10 questions with Daily Sports Writer Brooke Milam:

Question: What do you now know about football that you didnít know as a freshman?

Answer: Probably the self-discipline and to depend on your teammates. When I was in middle school, I just played for fun, but now it feels like something I have to do. I mean that like I canít imagine not playing. Itís more serious to me now.

Q: What is one goal you have for your team this season?

A: For us to win all 10 regular-season games and make it to the state playoffs. We havenít won all 10 games before since Iíve been playing, so thatís why itís really serious this year. (West Morgan finished 8-4 last season and made it to the second round of the state playoffs, but did not make the playoffs the previous two seasons).

Q: What is one goal you have for yourself outside of sports?

A: Just to work hard at everything I do. My mom (Lesha Phillips) is a good example. Sheís been through a lot, and some people would break down, but she always pulls through.

Q: Who would you say has taught you the most about football?

A: Coach (Pierre) Coggins (West Morgan head coach) and Coach (Marty) Chambers (West Morgan assistant). Coach Coggins coaches the linebackers, and when he gets mad, he gets really mad. He makes us better. Then Coach Chambers, heís good at explaining. He always has a way for me to understand him.

Q: What is one game you would like to play over and have a second chance at?

A: The Tanner game last year. I remember being down at our 30-yard line and it was down to the last three minutes in the game. Tanner threw a pass and it went right through my hands. I almost had it. (Tanner won 28-21).

Q: Other than West Morgan, who is one other high school football team that you keep track of?

A: Usually Decatur. Iíve got friends who play over there.

Q: Who is the toughest guy to tackle on West Morganís team?

A: Josh McAbee (senior quarterback) because you never see him stop running. Heís full of speed all the time. Weíve played together for about four years now.

Q: Which TV show would you be a better contestant on: ďSo You Think You Can Dance?Ē showing off your dancing skills, or ďSinging Bee,Ē guessing song lyrics?

A: Probably dancing. I canít really sing that good. Alex Langford (sophomore defensive tackle) on our team, now heís good at singing. Heís all the time singing up and down the halls and stuff.

Q: Who is your teammate who pushes you the most?

A: Jared Spooner. Heís the type of kid that makes you better because he wants to be better. He wants good things for the team. (Spooner is a senior who is playing outside linebacker this season in addition to kicking duties, for which he has become known.)

Q: What is the most expensive item you have ever bought?

A: I bought a system for my car in July. I worked at Wolverine Tubing in Decatur over the summer to save up for that.

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