One would think after the football season, Furlong would be ready to get home at a reasonable hour.

One would be wrong. Furlong is the head coach for the North squad in Thursday's Valor Bowl All-Star game and he is eager to get going no matter what time his day ends.

"I'm real excited to be the head coach this year," Furlong said. "I was an assistant last year and I was a head coach of some all-star games before in New Jersey and I thought it would be good for the Phoenixville program and community if I took the head job."

Furlong, in his two years as head coach of the Phantoms, has turned them into a legitimate team in the Pioneer Athletic Conference after Phoenixville suffered through some down years.

He says the chance to learn from other coaches and coach different players is a big reason he wanted to get involved in the Valor Bowl. He also said the chance to help raise money for Special Olympics is something he is very proud to be a part of.

"Scott Allison and Joe Carroll have really done a great job with this game," he said. "It is really something to see the looks on the faces of the Special Olympians when they run out on the field with one of the players.

"They think the players are from the National Football League or something, it is just a great experience."

Furlong said his goal is to get as many players in the game as possible and also win the football game. The North squad will face a special challenge of finding a quarterback in just 10 days of practice.

The North team lost the services of Coatesville's Jeff Cellucci due to a shoulder injury and will go with two guys, Corey Rhood of Downingtown West, and Matt Jensche of Owen J. Roberts, who did not play a lot of quarterback this past season.

"I have to create a quarterback in 10 days," Furlong says. "We will probably go with a basic-version offense, either the 'I' offense or the wing-T. We will have to see."

The head coach also said his coaching staff has been great and the fact of him being the new kid on the block has not created any problems.

"We have Tom Nichols working with the offensive line, Gary Rhodenbaugh calling the defensive signals and Mike Matta working with the linebackers." he said. "It is a great group and the best thing is I get to call the plays because I am the head coach."

The attendance at the early practices has encouraged Furlong even though many of his players are still playing other spring sports.

'The attendance has been great and the kids are really looking forward to the game," he said. "I know I am."

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