Talented wide receiver Jill Winston puts the Aldridge High Panthers on a championship course--in this well-meaning but not well-executed story. Football coach Frank Gardner knows that his team is strong but needs a good pass receiver to contend. He finds one in Jill, star of the girls' basketball team, but first he must get past the basketball coach, the principal, Jill's parents, and his own apprehensions: Can he guarantee her safety? He takes the risk and trains her in secret. She creates a sensation in the news media and on the field; as the victories roll in, she proves useful for distraction as well as athletic prowess. Jill opts to return to basketball before the season's end, but not before the team clinches a playoff spot. Unfortunately, Dygard's taut game descriptions and lucid discussions of strategy are interspersed with choppy, tediously repetitive passages. Gardner is the main character--the others, even Jill, are laconic, seldom seen, and lacking in individuality--and it's Gardner's gnawing worry that supplies much of the dramatic tension. He thinks of Jill as fragile, reacting with horror when she makes a tackle in her final game. The premise of a woman playing a ""man's"" game has been used before (even by this author), but, still, the coach's viewpoint is unusual and readers will be drawn to the sparkling jacket painting.