The Warsaw Community High School football season has been over since Nov. 1, but the recently graduated Gabe Furnivall is suiting up one more time for prep competition.
Helping the Warsaw Tigers finish the 2013 season at 7-4, falling to Carroll in the sectional championship game, Furnivall had 62 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks and two interceptions as a senior. He will take part in Friday’s Grange Insurance North-South All-Star Game at North Central High School in Indianapolis.
“The guys down here aren’t small,” Furnivall said in-between practices at the University of Indianapolis Tuesday afternoon. “It’s definitely a step up in speed and size, but it’s been a lot of fun.”
Furnivall, a two-time All-Northern Lakes Conference selection, will be playing at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer this fall, so getting a week of football in during the summer is  welcomed.
“I had not strapped on the pads in a long time,” he said, commenting that St. Joe’s first practice will be Aug. 10.
The last time Furnivall suited up was for the sectional title game, and he made nine tackles, two for loss, and an interception.
The Carroll Chargers, however, just had too much on a chilly night and beat Warsaw 42-7.
The loss was a tough one for Furnivall, who viewed the rest of the season as a pretty good one.
“I would have liked to have gotten the school’s first sectional championship, but overall, I was happy with my senior year,” he said.
Warsaw head coach Phil Jensen was also pleased with Furnivall, whose speed made him a dynamic performer.
“Gabe is just a football player,” Jensen said. “He’s good at track, but on the football field, he has a nose for the football.”
On the track, Furnivall competed in three events at last month’s state finals, finishing 16th in the 400-meter dash, as well as putting up two all-state performances, placing eighth in 4x100 relay with Tanner Balazs, Tristan McClone and Mike Miller, as well as ninth with the 4x400 relay of Landan Perry, Chad Goon and Ryan Goon.
Listed at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Furnivall played a hybrid between free safety and linebacker at Warsaw, but is listed as linebacker for Friday’s all-star game.
“We could bring him up against the run, but also let him go one-on-one (in coverage) against guys like Clayton Cook of Wawasee,” Jensen said.
Furnivall and Cook were both named to the Indiana Football Coaches’ Association all-state team this year, with Cook also competing at the track state finals, finishing fifth in the 110-meter hurdles.
Matched up with one of the fastest receivers in the area, Furnivall was up to the task, limiting Cook to three catches for 51 yards and a score.
“I think my speed and my fearlessness were my strengths,” Furnivall said. “I don’t have a fear about going up against anyone.”
The combination of the two made Furnivall Warsaw’s first representative in the North-South game since Leonard Wells was selected in 2008.
He is also Jensen’s first all-star since William Knepper made the cut in 2003, as Jensen stepped away from coaching Warsaw between 2004 and 2007.
“I’m happy and proud that he’ll be representing the North and representing us in the all-star game,” Jensen said.
And by representing the North, Furnivall will be looking to cut into the South’s 26-21 edge in the overall series.
“I’m looking for a North win,” he said.