Babs Deal has, in earlier books, written sensitively of young Southerners growing up. This, with a parable as a frame, is a triangle story of the football world in a University town where Arthur, the idealistic coach, holds as his ""grail"" the perfect team, the unbeaten record, the top place in the national polls. Lance is his team's outstanding quarterback, and Jennie is his wife who loves him but allows herself to have an affair with his star player. It is extremely successful a football story, less so as a romance which depends on and defies the whim of circumstance. Then there is Arthur, whose own past should have made him less inflexible when the story breaks, three lives are ruined, a last game lost.... Readable and unusual, although the author seems convinced that anybody connected with football is wholly indifferent to the rules of grammatical speech.