John Marshall Head Coach Phillip Sims (Photo: Andy Hilton/recruit757)
Oscar Smith and Phillip Sims had a reunion last weekend
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
John Marshall High School should realize what a gem they have in Phillip Sims.
Last Saturday, Sims hosted the first annual Phillip Sims Invitational 7-on-7 at JMHS. The finale came down to Highland Springs and Oscar Smith. Both teams had played in the State Championship game every year for the last three years. Highland Springs has been a three-time champion at Class 5, while Oscar Smith has been the three time runner-up at Class 6.
“I always root for those guys. I tell em, if we ever play Oscar Smith, I’ll root for ’em 364 days. 365th day, I gotta go with John Marshall. I’m always rooting for those guys. I’m a proud alumni. I love those guys. I still have a great relationship with the staff and even the kids. I’ve played with some of their older brothers. I’ve trained them. I’ve coached them before, so I’m excited to see where their program continues to grow… to new heights,” said Sims. “(They can) take what we did ten years ago, it seems so long ago now, but they can take what we did ten years ago and build upon it.”
Phillip is right. It was ten years ago this December that Phillip Sims hit the field in Blacksburg with his Oscar Smith Tiger team and he led them to a State Championship. That was his junior season. Now, he’s the head coach of his own program, and that team is developing. The Justices have a season under their belts and Sims has had a year to settle in as the coach.
“For a lot of our guys, until we started 7-on-7 this off-season, they had never done 7-on-7 before. This was something new to them. This level of competition was new to them,” Sims stated. “This was eye opening for them. I think our guys will be very competitive this year.”
The audio faltered a bit in our video interview, so I couldn’t include the full length of what Phil said in the video, but here’s the transcript of what was omitted from the video:
“I hope they take the lessons they got today and build on them. We’ll get this dead week out of the way, and it will be full steam ahead going toward the season. We’re hoping and praying and working for 15 football games. We’re going to be a physical team. The three things we always preach is physicality, speed and awareness. Knowing our responsibilities, knowing our jobs and making sure we’re doing everything.”
Coach Sims is also excited about the doors that his event opens in the inner city of Richmond.
“This type of event, for John Marshall High School and the city of Richmond, for the Northside of Richmond, for the inner city schools… it shows that we’re capable of hosting, competing, and putting on top notch events. There are a lot of naysayers about football in the city of Richmond, (and) about the schools in the city of Richmond. We’re here to show that our kids put in work just like every other kid. The coaches come to school to put in work just like any other program. We just like to show that we’re a part of the upper echelon in the state of Virginia.”
– Andy Hilton
You can see more from the interview with Phillip Sims in the video window below: