Cap Wadell lives in the small Texas town of Cowpen and dreams of playing football. However, because his middle school is too small to field a team, it appears that his dreams will go unfulfilled. When Cap's grandfather, Tully, suggests fielding a six-man team in a new league, Cap and his friends have new hope. Tully volunteers to coach the team and is successful because he played six-man football in his youth. While learning the rules for six-man football, Cap competes for the starting quarterback position with Jimmy Cash. While this competition is healthy, a problem arises between Cap and Jimmy's grandfathers. By reliving competitions from their youths, the boys' grandfathers ignite a feud, which could hurt the team. Cap struggles to understand the feud, but he and his teammates are troubled by the grandfathers' anger. Can the team pull together in the face of such tension? As the season unfolds, the boys learn that rivalry can be put aside and growth can occur in defeat. This fast paced sports tale touches upon lessons of value beyond the playing field while also capturing the excitement of a novel sporting event.
Casper “Cap” Wadell, age twelve, aspires to be a quarterback, but his Texas school’s low enrollment thwarts his ambitions. His grandfather, Tully Wadell, proposes rejuvenating the six-man football league and the Cowpens Panthers for which he had played as a boy. Cap and his closest friends, Ben Worthy and Hoot Coleman, train with the resurrected Panthers team coached by Tully. Classmate Jimmy Cash arrives at practice with his grandfather, Sable Cash, Tully’s former boyhood rival. Tully rejects Sable’s offer to assist coaching, but Sable observes drills anyway. Their antagonism intensifies as each man wants his grandson to be starting quarterback. Sable is sure that Tully will choose Cap rather than Jimmy. The Panthers play several games, revealing Cap’s and Jimmy’s strengths, but an emergency threatens their performance in an important game. The storyline follows expected Matt Christopher style, emphasizing sportsmanship, teamwork, and themes of family and friendship. Characters recognize that compromise aids success, which is not only equated with victories on the field but personal improvement. Information about six-man football and how its rules and eighty-yard fields differ from traditional football are woven into the story. This depiction of six-man squads will appeal to many young sports fans unfamiliar with the existence of those teams. Supplement with Laura Wilson’s nonfiction book, Grit and Glory: Six-Man Football (2003). This book is part of “The New Matt Christopher Sports Library” series.
Cap's rural Texas town is too small for a football league, until Grandpa suggests starting six-man teams. In Snowboard, Mexican-American brothers Freddie and Dondi challenge each other to a pair of snowboarding competitions. The typical Christopher formula of pedestrian plots, limited characterization, and lots of sports action keeps current by including disabled and minority characters, as well as a few contemporary expressions. Recommended, with minor flaws.
Two former football rivals coach their grandsons' football team. The two have a difficult time getting along and their attitudes negatively impact the young players. Story contains detailed play-by-play accounts of football games. Would be of interest to football enthusiasts!
Erie 2 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES