Phillips wins $500 in national football contest

Jim Phillips, 80, of Winchester knows his football. Phillips won $500 in a contest, "Power Points," which runs in The Northern Virginia Daily, by placing first nationally among entrants from around the country. The college and pro football games took place on Oct. 17 and 18. He finished with a score of 130; 136 points is the most you can receive. Rich Cooley/Daily

Winchester resident Jim Phillips has plenty of experience playing in newspaper football contests, and it paid off in a big way for him last week – literally.

Phillips won $500 in a contest, “Power Points,” which runs in The Northern Virginia Daily, by placing first nationally among entrants from around the country. The college and pro football games took place on Oct. 17 and 18. He finished with a score of 130; 136 points is the most you can receive.

“That’s kind of amazing,” Phillips said in a phone interview last week. “You would figure somebody would have a perfect score.”

Phillips said he’s been playing in the Winchester Star’s contest for many years and has won that twice, but that was just $100 each time. He said it was only the second or third time he’s played “Power Points.”

The idea behind the game is to correctly pick the 16 games that are selected and put them in order, from the one you’re most confident in to the one you’re least confident in. Phillips said he only missed three games, and they were the three he was least confident in, which cost him only six points. There were three college games and 13 pro games.

He said he picked Notre Dame, Ohio State and Georgia, all college games, first.

“I thought they were pretty much a cinch,” Phillips said. “Then I just kind of went down with the records and what not. Just kind of went down the list.”

Phillips said that the three games he missed were all NFL games – Washington over the New York Jets, Arizona over Pittsburgh and Seattle over Carolina. He almost got Seattle right, as the Seahawks lost in the final minute to the Panthers.

“Seattle was the last one I picked,” Phillips said. “I picked them on the bottom spot. I kind of figured that would be kind of close, kind of tit-for-tat, to see who would win that one.”

Phillips is known throughout the area for his work in the Valley Baseball League and helping out with the Winchester Royals organization as well as working the scoreboard at John Handley High School football and baseball games.

Phillips said he just enjoys competing and seeing how he will do each week.

“It’s just kind of something to do,” he said. “I kind of tinker with it and see what I can do. Some of these pro games are hard to pick sometimes.”

Phillips said he doesn’t do any on the online fantasy games, he just enjoys doing the ones in the local papers.

Phillips said he wasn’t sure what he would do with the money. He said that his 55th wedding anniversary to his wife, Betty, was coming up.

“I guess, I’ll use the money to go out to dinner,” Phillips said with a laugh.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com