From Publishers Weekly
Trinity Bible College, of Ellendale, N.Dak., made national headlines in fall 2003 when the school's football team lost its season opener 105â"0. It would be easy to romanticize the Lions as lovable losers; many of the players, scraped together from the college's 300 students, have never played organized football before, and officially the school is more concerned with saving souls than winning games. But while this story has its share of offbeat momentsâ"including a practice session so disorganized no one can find any footballsâ"Fury usually avoids the easy route. Following the team for the 2004 season, the freelance reporter winds up chronicling the mounting frustration among the players and assistant coaches with the hands-off management style of head coach Rusty Bentley, and suspense is generated not by wondering if the Lions will be able to pull out a victory, but whether the team will make it to the end of the season intact. In between games, Fury ably sets the scene around the small campus, which is so remote, people there can't even get cell phone service. By refusing to caricature or sentimentalize the players, Fury delivers a heartfelt tale. Photos.
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Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, North Dakota, has a total enrollment of 310 students, most of whom become preachers and missionaries. Amazingly, it also fields a football team. The head coach is Rusty Bentley, a native Texan whose first season, 2003, was notable for its stunning lack of success. In his first game, Trinity was beaten by Rockford College of Illinois 105-0, the most lopsided defeat in college-football history. The rest of the season wasn't much better. Trinity was outscored 585-12. Journalist Fury followed the team through the 2004 season. Trinity wasn't much more successful in 2004, prompting dissension in the ranks as the players began to tune Bentley out, eventually causing his postseason resignation. The lesson readers will be left with is this: faith will carry one through many difficult situations in life, but in football an occasional win is important, too. An intriguing counterpoint to the numerous accounts of championship teams and coaches. Wes Lukowsky
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