Bench: 1

The bleachers around the field were packed full of parents, classmates, and fans. Coach Banks had his team huddled around him as he announced their next play.

“We’re going to run trips to the field. Mason,” he looked at a medium-sized seventeen-year-old with shaggy black hair. “Line up at X, you’ll be the isolation receiver against number 42. If the CB takes outside shade, make a quick slant and watch for the ball. If he goes inside on you, go deep. Hayden, I want you to bootleg the ball to Jake. Sell it. Mason will be open. Got it, Eagles?”

The boys shouted in unison. And with that, the Pine Creek Eagles surged onto the field to take their positions. Mason leaned over and pressed his elbows against his knees. He kept his eyes straight. He didn’t want the opposition to see him watching Hayden for a pass. When the whistle blew, the Eagles were on the 30-yard line leading with a 14-10 score.

Jake, the running back, went to take the ball from Hayden. The opponent took notice and moved to their left accordingly. Hayden moved away from Jake and sent the ball flying toward Mason who was ready. Mason caught the ball perfectly and approached the defence. Mason pulled his signature move, which they only used once in per game. 42, a huge kid from Cheyenne Mountain, came in for a tackle. Mason jumped into the air, head down as if he were to do a front flip. He simultaneously grabbed onto the back of 42’s jersey and used the boy as a platform to support him. Mason rolled over the boy seamlessly and landed on his two feet, behind the defence. He then sprinted forward with all he had and carried the ball into the end zone.

The crowd screamed. Mason raised his arms in the air with a wide grin. The game went on for another ten munites before ending; the Eagles took the victory.

When the clock hit zero, Mason bounced up and down with excitement. He looked over at the cheerleaders and made eye contact a blonde in the front row: Kate, his girlfriend. He shot her a wink and then looked to his team as they surged toward him. They joined in a group hug and jumped up and down with excitement. After the victory performance, Kate made her way through the huddle, wrapped her arms around Mason’s neck, took off his helmet, and kissed his sweaty lips. She crinkled her nose and laughed.

Nothing could be heard over the cheering from the bleachers. The team and Mason, with Kate’s arm wrapped around his, ran off the field to where Coach Banks was waiting.

“Well done, son,” Banks said as he patted Mason’s wet hair. Banks was six and a half feet tall, almost an entire foot taller than Mason. “Mr. Quinn was here from CSU. We just spoke. He’s talking about a full scholarship! He’s going to draft something up and send it to my office this weekend.”

Mason’s eyes were wide and his jaw fell. Kate jumped up and down and shrieked with glee. The rest of the team cheered and shoved Mason around with excitement. Banks bellowed out with laughter.

“I’ll meet you all at Junior’s Grill in an hour. I’m buying!” Coach Banks side-hugged Hayden the quarterback and then turned to Kate. “You invite your girls too. My treat.”

The whole team shouted at that. Coach Banks then walked onto the field to shake the other team’s coach’s hand. The team cheered at the coach for inviting the cheerleaders. Kate skipped off toward the girl’s change room.

The team started in the direction of the boy’s change room. They passed a bleacher that had a boy in a wheelchair sitting at the bottom. He was in his junior year just like Mason. The boy clapped his hands and cheered for the team. One of the linebackers took notice of this and then smirked.

“Are you going to play with us next season, Wheely?” he jeered.

The boy sunk down in his chair. He was used to being on the receiving end of jokes, but he had never gotten used to the jokes themselves.

“Ease up, Jake,” Hayden said.

The team kept walking forward. Mason said nothing and did his best not to look at the boy in the bleachers.


Junior’s Grill was filled with the football team, the coaches, and the cheerleaders. The bill was huge but Banks had no problem paying. R.J., the owner of Junior’s didn’t have a problem with it either.

After three cheeseburgers, a large fries, and two shakes, Mason and Kate loaded into his truck and drove off.

“I’m not tired yet, are you?” Kate asked with a twinkle in her eye.

“Not even a bit,” Mason said. It was 11:00 PM already. Normally his parents would want him home by 10:00 PM, but Mason had a 1:00 AM curfew on game nights.

“Let’s go for a drive,” Kate said as she put her hand on Mason’s shoulder.

They lived in Colorado Springs which was shouldered by mountains and trees. The two of them were fond of driving through the forest just on the edge of town. The roads were surrounded by tall trees and it was always quiet. Mason often went for runs through the forest too as he lived right next to it, at the end of his street.

The radio was blaring and the two teenagers had their windows rolled down. They were singing loudly and enjoying each other’s company. The couple never talked about anything serious. Mason knew there wasn’t much to Kate but he liked that. She wasn’t complicated, she was beautiful, and she was into him. Three things that Mason looked for in girls. They had been dating for the entire school year, which was coming to a close.

“Faster!” Kate yelled over the music.

Mason welcomed the command. He pressed down on the accelerator and focused on the road ahead, lit only by his headlights. He was an excellent driver and took each turn and bend in the road gracefully.

Kate laughed. She was a fan of impetus. She leaned over and kissed Mason’s cheek.

He looked at her and returned the favour.

When his eyes looked back to the road, Mason was surprised by the image of a large animal only ten feet from his windshield. It was a moose and instinctively, Mason swerved left. He dodged the moose but had veered off the road. Travelling 57 miles per hour, the front of Mason’s truck wrapped around a tree. All the glass on the vehicle shattered. Kate was pinned in between her seat and multiple airbags. Whereas, Mason was pinned in between his seat and the car’s engine which had been forced back into the car two feet due to the tree.