A searing commentary on the "win at all costs" mentality of American high school sports. David Lee Birdsong is the smalltown quarterback hoping to escape with a college scholarship and a pro career. David's father is the overbearing taskmaster vicariously living through his son. The third side of the triangle is Coach Marshall, a hypercritical and cruel man who sees David as the key to his future success. David's lockstep commitment to his father and coach is altered when he witnesses a teammate die after a grueling practice.