Prairie Fire by Gary Repetto
Four teenagers, one the star quarterback of his high school’s team, their fathers, their prists and their coach plus a corrupt college booster and a police captain, collide with greed, ambition and convoluted definitions of morally right.
This book takes place in 1958 at a Catholic high school in Chicago where the game of football is extremely competitive and among the best in the country. It wasn’t uncommon for a school to have 5 to 10 players receive major college scholarships and coaches to be snapped up by colleges throughout the country. This environment is the backdrop for this book in which Mike Bonjanovich is possibly the best quarterback in the country, but he is also a mean, hateful, vindictive individual. His presence almost insures his school, Malloy High School, will win the coveted city championship which would present sought after opportunities for a number of people. But his part in a tragic accidental death of 3 boys witnessed by a freshman student creates several conflicts that reveal a win-at-all-costs attitude by many. The story moves quickly to a dramatic conclusion with good finally overcoming evil. Secondary to the conflict this story reveals life as a student in an inter-city Catholic high school in Chicago during the 1950’s (and into the early to mid-1960’s)