When the Saints start off their high school football season with an impressive win streak, college recruiters come calling for Coach Vick. This leads to Vick taking a new approach to practices, demanding strict dedication without room for failure. Players like Mark Smith, who feel entitled to play time, start to rebel against Vick, and when they do, he decides to run them through punishment sprints.
Benny Robinson, Vick’s favorite player on the team, is a gentle giant with a mean streak when he’s on the field. Vick is a father figure to him, guiding him where his single mother Theresa can’t reach. But when the sprints get excessive, and the rebellious players won’t back down, Vick doesn’t let up. His stubbornness blinds him to the ailing Benny, who collapses on the field. Paramedics declare him dead only hours later, from a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a rare heart condition that strikes numerous young athletes each year.
The team, the town, and Coach Vick are crushed by this calamity. Vick plans to reschedule their next game, but when their opponents don’t have schedule room, Vick makes an executive decision to play through it, leading to his suspension. To make matters worse, Theresa sues Vick over the death of her son.
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