Knights of the Hill Country by Tim Tharp
Paperback, 240 pages
Hampton is one of the stars of the Kennisaw football team, who are on their way toward finishing their fifth undefeated season. He’s watching his best friend, and other star of the team, Blaine, lose the limelight due to injury. Knights of the Hill Country is not just Hampton’s, and the rest of the Kennisaw Knights, road to five straight, but it’s also Hampton trying to figure out what kind of man he’s going to grow up to be.
I put Knights of the Hill Country in the same area as Dr. Buehler’s list of “More than Sports Stories.” There’s even a subtle discussion of racism — which I think was handled well given the character’s experiences. And there’s enough football to keep those who really would rather just read about the sports engaged.