Fourth Down in Texas
By Matt Wixon
Sports1 Rating: 5 out of 5 Footballs
Football, with a rich history on the field and a history of making people rich, might seem too big to die. But in “Fourth Down in Texas,” a novel set amid the simmering debate of football safety, the dominoes are falling on a cultural cornerstone of America.
Evidence is mounting regarding the lasting effects of concussions, the NFL and NCAA are targets of negligence lawsuits, and the rare-but-wrenching stories of high school player deaths have put football on the firing line. In “Fourth Down in Texas,” written by longtime Dallas Morning News sports writer and columnist Matt Wixon, school districts across the country are shutting down their football programs and even Texas, the 50-yard line of football in America, is feeling the effects.
As his Dallas-area school district considers eliminating the football program, Coach Gordon “Tuffy” Nehls envisions a dark future in which entrepreneurs and street agents control high school football. Nehls fights for the sport he loves and leads his team on a final magical ride, all while coming to grips with a changing world and living with the regret of a decision that altered a player’s life forever.
“Fourth Down in Texas” is a story of football – its glorious past, uncertain present and potential future. More than that, it’s a story about coaches and players, fathers and sons, lifetime bonds and living for the moment.
“Fourth Down in Texas is Friday Night Lights meets Concussion. There couldn’t be a more timely sports story. Because it’s not just about football. It’s about what our culture values. Wixon has written a great, accessible book that gave me chills in its final lines.” – Mark Falkin – Author of “Contract City” and “The Late Bloomer”.
About the Author
Matt Wixon spent eighteen years at The Dallas Morning News as a writer and columnist, and for much of that time, he covered high school football. He was named the Texas High School Coaches Association’s Sports Writer of the Year in 2013, and the Associated Press Sports Editors ranked his work among the top ten nationally in projects reporting in 2010, 2015 and 2016. In his final year at The News in 2017, he was named Media Person of the Year by the Dallas chapter of the National Football Foundation. Wixon now works in sports communications for the Frisco Independent School District north of Dallas.
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