Touchdown Pass, by Clair Bee
Four out of five stars
This is another installment of the series of books starring sports star Chip Hilton. In this one, he is in high school and the sport is football. His school is Valley Falls High and it is a year after some very good players have graduated. Yet, given the skills and knowledge of Coach Rockwell along with the talents of Chip Hilton and his buddies Speed Morris, Soapy Smith and Biggie Cohen, there is reason for optimism.
However, when the season opens there is an open schism between factions on the team, some of which is based on open hostility between people living on opposite sides of town. Chip does his best to heal these divisions, but not even he can overcome all those odds. Despite significant reshuffling, the team manages to scratch out victories and it all comes down to the big game at the end, where they are playing for the championship.
However, unlike most books of adolescent sports fiction, star Chip is not the hero of the final game, having suffered an accident. The author is to be commended for taking a most unusual plot twist, it is rare when the star of the story is not the hero. Hilton is portrayed as a young man of principle, the loyal son to his mother and pursuing truth and justice, even when it might cost him. For these reasons, this is a lesson in moral clarity as much as a story about sports action.