In the small town of Dilthon, Wyoming, high-school football is religion and the local football coach, Brad Porter, is god. But Coach Porter is a cruel and unforgiving deity, so fiercely determined to win that it frightens an aging uncle and aunt who were once his surrogate parents. After the death of his aunt snaps the last restraints, Coach Porter drives his vulnerable place kicker, Alasdair Pittman, to suicide. Yet when his recklessness costs his own son his life, Coach Porter plunges into turmoil that no gridiron victory can resolve. Groping his way towards a new life, Coach Porter turns to his war-scarred uncle for guidance--and redirects his energies to a sport devoid of glamour: cross-country running. However, neither Coach Porter nor anyone else in Dilthon ever expected the new sport to attract Alasdair Pittman's brother, Anson, an athlete needing help with far more than his stride. Who will win in this unexpected new contest? And what will winning mean?