Sweat poured down Drew’s neck as he focused on his breathing and kept his feet as high as he could. His eyes followed Coach Halloran, the offensive coordinator, as he trolled the sidelines.
Just blow the whistle already, Drew thought, clenching his fists. Blow the damn whistle!
All around him in their perfectly aligned squads, guys grunted and shouted in extreme duress. Halloran had woken up today with some kind of nefarious need to torture the team. He’d had them doing the stutter-step drill for what felt like an eternity. Samson was lined up directly behind Drew, and Drew wondered how his winsome teammate was doing with this particular task. He hoped the guy would pull something.
It was all their fault that they were being put through this crap. All Corinth’s fault. Drew knew Halloran well enough to know that he was making a point. He didn’t want to hear any lip from the disgruntled Corinth players about something as trite as uniforms, so he was trying to sweat the fight out of them.
“All right! That’s enough!” Coach Davidson shouted, joining Halloran.
Halloran, finally, mercifully, blew his whistle. Every last one of the guys collapsed to the ground. Practice hadn’t even begun yet, and Drew’s legs were quivering like his grandmother’s Easter Jell-O mold.
“All right, people, listen up!” Coach Davidson announced. “Today and tomorrow we are going to run nothing but position drills.”
The entire squad groaned. Drew shoved himself up into a seated position and glanced over at Samson, who had his knees up and his forearms resting over them as he caught his breath. Unusually taciturn, Samson glanced away. That was fine with Drew. He was impenitent about their altercation as well. And the last thing he needed was Samson trying to be all friendly and understanding. Hopefully that particularly cloying side of Samson Hill was gone for good.
“We will be running these drills because after practice tomorrow I intend to post the starting lineup for varsity,” Coach continued.
That got everyone’s attention. Drew’s heart dropped as the field fell silent.
“Right here I have a list of criteria by which we will be judging each of the starters,” Coach Davidson announced, holding up his clipboard. “After practice today and tomorrow, all the coaches will convene and make our decisions. The pressure is officially on, gentlemen.”
Yeah. Like it wasn’t before, Drew thought.
Ever so slowly, Coach Davidson made eye contact with each and every one of the players. Drew felt his adrenaline surge as Coach finally held his own gaze.
“Let’s see what you’ve got.”