Jaelan Phillips would not be denied.
Despite suffering a left hand injury on the first play of a defensive series early in the third quarter Friday, the five-star defensive end from Redlands (Calif.) East Valley kept chasing the football, eager to help his team avenge last year's loss to San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon and secure a league title. The UCLA commit played through the pain and, when he finally got back to the sideline a handful of plays later, was told he had suffered a metatarsal fracture and his night was done.
Phillips watched anxiously as Cajon erased a 19-point deficit with him on the sideline, but jumped for joy as REV responded with a last-minute touchdown to capture the victory bell.
"It just snapped on me," Phillips said, "I'll get it cast up and play next week.
"I'm just glad we won. That's all that matters. It means everything. It was the most heartbreaking thing standing on the sideline watching the other team come back, and I couldn't do anything about it. The fact that we came back means everything to me. I let (my teammates) know how much I appreciate them. Words can't express how much I appreciate them."
Phillips, the No. 1-rated defensive end in the 2017 class and No. 7 overall prospect in the Scout 300, had been in on 15 tackles prior to his departure, showing explosive pursuit off the edge but also chasing down ball carriers from the opposite side of the field. He lined up at linebacker, too, and did well in coverage.
The Bruins have not had the season many, including Phillips, had envisioned, but he said the status of his pledge remains unchanged.
"Obviously it's a little frustrating, but it doesn't make me waver in my commitment or anything like that," Phillips said. "I'm still 100 percent solid and just looking forward to getting to Westwood."
As the highest-profile recruit committed to UCLA, Phillips has turned into a spokesman of sorts and done his part to build his incoming class. He said four-star defensive tackle Greg Rogers, who officially visited the Bruins the weekend of Oct. 21, is a major target.
"I think he's coming to UCLA," Phillips said of Rogers, who is set to announce a decision on Nov. 16. "I couldn't make it out there during his official last week because we had Homecoming, but I talk to him pretty often over text message."
Phillips has racked up 107 total tackles in nine games this season, including 10 for a loss to go along with 11 sacks.