FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Winter is approaching, the "Friday night lights" have faded and the sounds of fans cheering and helmets clashing seem to be a distant memory, football season is over. But for one First Team family member, football season is far from over.
"I'm so excited to play in these bowl games and continue to play after the season has ended," said Deshaun Phillips, 17, a quarterback for Overhills High School in Spring Lake, North Carolina.
Deshaun was selected to play in the 10th Annual Offense-Defense All-American Bowl Week "Diamonds in the Rough" game held in Daytona Beach, Florida. This game showcases 80 of the nation's top high school seniors and has featured well-known NFL players such as Cam Newton, Earl Thomas, and Dez Bryant in past editions.
His season doesn't end there though as he was also selected to play in the 2016 International Bowl Feb. 3 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
The 6-foot-6-inch, 220-pound high school senior has high standards for himself, but he's not his toughest critic. That role belongs to his mother, Rhonda, who is also his biggest fan.
"My mom is my number one supporter and we are really close. She's kept me on the right track. She gives me criticism and tells me what I could do better, but she also encourages me, tells me what I'm doing well. She's just never given up on me, which is the most important thing," said Deshaun.
The son of athletes, Deshaun was bound to have talent. His mother the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) Deputy Inspector General, Rhonda Phillips, played volleyball in high school and college. She also played on the All Army team for two years and the Armed Forces team.
Marvin Phillips, Deshaun's father who retired after 21 years in the Army, played basketball in high school and college. He also played on the All Army basketball team in 1986 and 1994.
"An All Army volleyball player and basketball player, I don't know how we ended up with a football player," Rhonda, a Gray, Louisiana, native joked.
Deshaun started playing football at the age of five but it wasn't until middle school when he started to play quarterback that his mom noticed his real talent.
"He's like me, he's driven," said the 22-year Army veteran. "DJ was born a leader. Being a military child he had to learn to be independent from a young age. Even in daycare he wanted to take charge and lead, he's never been a follower."
Being the child of dual-military parents, Deshaun moved frequently but spent most of his teenage years in the Fort Bragg area.
"Growing up in a military family helped me in my football career because in my house discipline was always very important and that discipline just carried over to the football field," said Deshaun.
Despite busy work schedules, Rhonda and Marvin have made it a priority to support their son's football career.
"I never missed a game. I promised him I would be there for every game his senior year and I was able to make that happen," said Marvin, a Jacksonville, North Carolina native.
For the next several weeks leading up to the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, Deshaun will prepare himself for the game by playing basketball.
"Its great cardio," said Deshaun. "It will help me to stay in shape and help me to work on my speed by sprinting back and forth on the court."
No matter what sport he plays, on the field or on the court, in the classroom or at home, Deshaun is sure to give it his all and shine.
"It's an honor anytime you get to represent your country, in any capacity. DJ will get to play for the United States against Canada in the international bowl," said Marvin. "It makes me a proud father to know that my son is going to be out there playing. It's going to be an opportunity for people all across America to see him play and see his talent. I couldn't be any prouder."