Roughneck Rematch

December 10, 2008
By Brett Delaney, Lake Benton, MN

In this witty gridiron tale about a high school senior playing the biggest game of his life, Thomas Cochran delivers, in Roughnecks, with the psychological side of football and the pressures it employs on every student athlete.

Preparing to face his school’s arch rival, the Pineview pelicans, for the elusive state championship and the most feared and highly recruited defensive tackle (Jericho Grooms) in the state of Louisiana, Travis Cody, an offensive guard for the Oil Camp Roughnecks, goes through the day working, reading the previews to the game, listening to the coffee shop people asking him if he can stop Jericho Grooms. Through the book, Travis is retold how he missed a block on Grooms to set up the winning two point conversion and an undefeated season and the death of his father. Faced with a confidence problem, he turns to his girlfriend and his boss for answers. Cody is giving 48 minutes to redeem himself for the lock that took away Oil Camp’s undefeated season. 48 minutes to prove he isn’t a push over.

The main point this book sends to the intended audience, young adults, is that life is full of second chances and what we make of them reveals our true character and personality. The book also sends the message that believing in yourself can carry you to the top.

Thomas Cochran understands football and what is going through your mind leading up to big games. He makes you want to pad up and hit someone. The story plot is familiar but the perspective from a lineman instead of a quarterback or running back is great because they usually get most of the fame. The town was similar to many football towns with the oil rig workers, hectic alumni; a history of winning seasons, every baby boy born in Oil Camp is given a roughneck football. Roughneck doesn’t give much action but if you stick it out you won’t be disappointed. My favorite quote is when Cody is talking about his coach Mr. Crews and says, “My feelings about Crews are complicated. I've loved him and I've hated him. I've resented him and I've appreciated him. I've cussed him and I've thanked him. He made me what little bit of a football player I am during Spring Ball following my ruined junior season. He rode me extra hard for twenty consecutive days. He tested me for four weeks. No matter what I did it wasn't exactly right. If I blocked somebody five yards back he wanted six. If I tackled somebody at the line he wanted a loss. I was in better shape than I've ever been in but he almost broke me. He pushed me past where I'd been able to push myself and I thought I'd pushed myself as far as I could go.”

All and all, Roughnecks is a great football book because it goes deeper into the mind of young players who face pressure no 17 or 18 year old kid should have to face but do because they love the game and enjoy the feeling they get when they know they beat the other team because they did what they had to do.

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This article has 1 comment.

Alyssa said...
on Sep. 14 2012 at 8:57 am
This book is fiction, but it is actually based on the Homer-Haynesville rivalry. It was written by a Haynesbille player about one of our playoff games.


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