Michael groaned. It was the bottom of the fourth quarter and, once again, he was on his back, under a pile of sweating guys. No, he wasn’t having a good time. He was pissed off—in a great way. In a way that pumped him up, and made him push harder—allowed him to think. Put life into perspective. His mind easily focused during a game. When the opposing team breathed down his neck right before he threw the football. It was a battle. And he intended to win.

On the field, it didn’t matter that his girlfriend had screwed around with another guy. Or that his mother wouldn’t be winning any ‘Mom of the Year’ awards.

Out here, amongst the sweat and the turf, what mattered was that his teammates were playing like crap. They needed to suck it up and win this effing game. His freaking life depended on it. Podunk Cheyenne, Wyoming was sucking the life out of him. He needed out. There were a couple of scouts in the bleachers tonight. Impressing them meant a full-ride scholarship. He wanted to go anywhere that wasn’t here.  

With only twenty seconds left on the clock, the South High Bisons were down six points. Come hell or high water, they were gonna score. The barrage of red and black from the opposing team quickly untangled themselves and moved off him. 

A guy from the opposing team stuck out a hand. “Have fun under there, Hawke?”

“You’re such a comedian.” Michael ignored the jerk’s hand and stood. Then, with his hands he made a T and called time out.

After talking to Coach Gann, he brought the guys into the huddle.

“All right, I’ve had about enough of winding up on my ass. Davids, Porter, Reagan, do your jobs and protect me. Got it!” Michael pulled on Vinny’s helmet. “Smith, go long. We’re getting a touchdown. End of story.” Smith nodded, sporting a huge smile, showing his gold mouth guard. “35 slot cross. Let’s do it.” They all stuck their hands into the center and yelled. “Go Bison.”

Michael got into position, hollered the play, grabbed the ball, took his five steps back and waited for Smith to get down the field. The dude had always been faster than most, but the opposing players were after him quicker than expected.

Come on; hold em back.

Okay, he’s there. Michael cocked his arm back and threw. It flew perfectly. He watched the ball arc. Catch it. C’mon, catch it. He knew it’d hit Vinny in the numbers. All Vinny had to do was wrap his hands around the ball and run in for the touchdown.

He caught it. Michael took a quick breath before Vinny turned and ran. The dude was fast. 


“Yes,” Michael shouted, as he watched Vinny do his stupid touchdown dance. Good job, ya jackass. 

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