ONE GREAT GAME: Two Teams, Two Dreams, in the First Ever National Championship High School Football Game

Don Wallace, Author . Atria $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7434-4621-1

On October 6, 2001, two California high school football teams played in what turned out to be the first, and perhaps the only, national championship high school football game. The De La Salle Spartans and the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits came into the season as the two top-ranked teams in high school football, according to USA Today polls and various sports polls throughout the country. Wallace, who played for Poly in the late 1960s, skillfully chronicles the stories of these two football powerhouses. De La Salle, which sported the nation's longest winning streak at 113 games, is an all-male, predominantly white, Catholic high school in the wealthy northern California suburb of Concord. Long Beach Poly is an urban, inner-city high school with tremendous racial diversity, whose more famous graduates include Cameron Diaz and Snoop Dogg. With his journalist's eye, Wallace (author of the novel Hot Water) interviews the coaches and players of each team as they prepare for the 2001 season and the game that became known as the national championship. In a fast-paced narrative, he gives a play-by-play account of the game. Although Poly seems to have a physical edge over De La Salle, the latter keep their winning streak alive with a 27–15 win. Unfortunately, Wallace never makes it clear why this game was called the national championship game, especially because it was the teams' fifth game of the season, not the final one, other than that two top-ranked teams faced each other. Overall, though, Wallace's well-told story of this season and the game captures the emotions of everyone involved in the quest to be a winning team. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/11/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4165-8641-8
Paperback - 314 pages - 978-0-7434-4622-8
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