- Grades: 6–8
About this book
Who do you owe your highest loyalty to—your friends, your team, your family, or yourself?
Miles may only be a junior, and at 5’10” and 155 pounds, isn’t a big guy, but he loves to hit, to smash guys to the ground and take them out. That’s why he’s one of the first string, the starters, the stars. His father taught him how to play football almost as soon as he could walk, and expects only the best from his son. Miles is sure he can never be good enough for his dad. Zach, Miles’ best friend, and also a starter, is all about being the best, pumping more iron, building up more endurance, and he expects Miles to be the best as well. And on the night before their first game, he gives Miles two pills of Rip Blast. Just caffeine, he tells Miles, just like drinking a can of Red Bull, to give you a little extra edge. No big deal. Lots of seniors take them, including Tyrone, their 300 pound All State tackle. Miles takes the pills, but he’s not comfortable about taking them, so he sticks them in the pocket of his jeans and forgets about them.
It’s not long before he begins to see the consequences of his decision. He and Zack have a huge fight, and Zack starts hanging with Tyrone and the other seniors. Coach demotes him to second string. Miles’ dad is all over him to do whatever it takes to get back into the starting lineup. And Miles begins to wonder if maybe there should be something more in life than just football. Miles knows about a crackback play on the field and how to watch out for it. But this year, life is about to deliver a crackback play that he can’t prepare for or bounce right back from.