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Knightdale's Tomminique Crank, middle, is taken down in the back field by South Central's Tylando Pinckney, bottom, and Phillip Chen during their game on Nov. 17, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, September 20, 2018

One of the strongest points of the South Central football defense is its defensive line. Senior Phillip Chen is one of the anchors along that line, using his speed and power to make offensive linemen regret ever lining up against him. Reflector prep sports beat writer Jake Keator spoke with Chen about football and what it is like being a student-athlete. 

Q: How did you get started playing football?

A: “I started when I was real young because my dad wanted me to. I was probably about eight. I remember when I signed up the lady asked if I wanted to play flag or tackle and I picked tackle and have loved it ever since.”

Q: Are you strictly an interior defensive lineman or can you move to defensive end? 

A: “I can play wherever coach wants me to play. Sometimes they want me to play inside where I can use my speed to beat centers and guards, and other times I can go outside.”

Q: What’s your favorite part of playing on the defensive line?

A: “Hitting the quarterback. It feels so good to go out and beat somebody and just hit them. You can’t hit the quarterback any other time, so it feels good. You can use anything that may be making you angry and just take it out by getting to the quarterback.”

Q: Alongside you on the line is Jeremy Lewis and others. What is the defensive line like as a group?

A: “Jeremy is like my brother. I am over at his house every weekend and he is over at my house every weekend. Our families are really close. We also got Percy (Edwards). We’ve been playing together since rec ball. I’ve been with Kendrick (Britton) since we started playing together at A.G. Cox (Middle School). They are all like my brothers.”

Q: You guys have a big game against J.H. Rose this week. Is there anything different at practice or is it business as usual?

A: “We’re getting ready like any other game. Coach is telling us to work hard and be prepared. If we aren't prepared than we could be beaten by a team as good or not as good as us. We just have to stick together through adversity. We know there will be some adversity but we have to stick together.”

Q: Have you thought about where you are going to go to college?

A: “I have some interest letters, but I haven't made my choice just yet. 

Q: What is your dream school as a player?

A: “Every time I think about it I want to stay home. I want to be able to be with my family and my boys. It’s probably ECU. You put me, Jeremy and Keziah (Everrett) together and its gonna be really tough to stop us.”

Q: What advice would you give to younger athletes who want to succeed?

A: “I’d tell them, ‘Keep your head up.’ You have to do the right thing and stay out of trouble. It’s also important to get good grades and keep a good mindset. Coaches love guys who are good in the classroom, take care of business on the field and stay out of trouble.”

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.


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