Rick Penning, the 17-year-old star player on his coach/father’s rugby team, lands inside the Wasatch County Juvenile Detention Center following his second drunk driving conviction (and where his father leaves him to rot). Mistrust and dislike of the situation makes Rick anything but a model prisoner, but counselors at the center nonetheless hook him up with the Highland Rugby Team, a team renowned for its long string of successive state championships. Its coach, Larry Gelwix, has a surprisingly unexpected philosophy: train boys to be champions in life first, then on the field. Rick doesn’t buy into this, which could earn him some time in State Prison if he doesn’t turn his life and attitude around by the time he turns 18.
Rick Penning lives life just like he plays rugby; fast, hard-hitting and intense. When life on the edge lands him in jail, prison ward Marcus Tate offers him a chance to get back in the game by playing for his rival, Highland Rugby. Reluctantly Rick joins the team where he must adopt the grueling training schedule and unique code of conduct that Coach Gelwix enforces, or finish out the season behind bars. Egos clash as bitter competitors struggle to become a team. An unlikely brotherhood is formed with his Highland teammates, just as Rick is released from jail and sent back home to rejoin his former team, coached by his overbearing father. Heading into a faceoff with Highland at the National Championship, Rick is forced to choose where his loyalty lies. [D-Man2010]