The setting is grim ""Oiltown, Pa.,"" where highschool football is all there is--and Blessing would like to make hard-boiled, heavyweight literary capital of it. But the writing is mostly a morass of words about the punishing nature of the game, not necessarily involving key characters or contests. (""Rand was going into his act, grimacing and sucking and groaning a little to let the quarterback know it was someone else's turn to carry. And Strand, who was game enough, couldn't get untracked, especially since his running mate's blocking had lost its early enthusiasm."") The story, meanwhile, takes sophomore unenthusiast Craig Warren, twitted as ""Artsy-Craftsy,"" to conventional quarterback stardom and self-realization (i.e., he can speak up in English class too). Craig's father is a refinery worker who wants better things for Craig via a football scholarship; his mother bemoans Oiltown's lack of other attractions--but tells Craig to stick out the football season (and tells her husband what a great guy he is, nobody or not). The coach is a Vince Lombardi clone, etc. It's all stock YA stuff--except the prose, which is turgid.