Ben’s love of football forces him to overcome his disappointment at losing the role of starting quarterback to the coach’s son.
Ben McBain may not be the biggest player on his Pop Warner football team, but he has the greatest desire to win. Ben idolizes former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, who was considered to be too small for the position but who played bigger than his height. He fights bitterness at being overlooked for his dream position, both due to his size and because his coach has determined that his own son, Shawn, will quarterback the team. Coach O’Brien, a former professional player, is set on his son's duplicating his path, not realizing the pressure Shawn feels. Shawn’s response makes him a terrible teammate and threatens to turn the group of talented players into losers. Ben reaches out to Shawn, trying to save their season, but just when he thinks he is making progress, one of Coach O’Brien’s game decisions causes a rift between the players. This action-packed story not only delivers plenty of good football plays, but also explores the consequences of parents living vicariously through their children. Ben is lucky: His father, while encouraging, is more low-key. Ben is a strong character, surrounded by a great group of sidekicks.
Readers who, like Ben, live and breathe football, will enjoy. (Fiction. 7-11)