Our Boys

A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen

Joe Drape

St. Martin's Griffin

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The football team in Smith Center, Kansas, holders of the nation’s longest high-school winning streak, embrace a philosophy of life taught by their legendary coach, Roger Barta: “Respect each other, then learn to love each other and together we are champions.”
      But as the Redmen embarked on a quest for a fifth consecutive state title, they faced a potentially destabilizing transition: the greatest senior class in school history had graduated, and Coach Barta was contemplating retirement. In Smith Center—population: 1,931—this changing of the guard was seismic. Hours removed from the nearest city, the town revolves around “our boys” in a way that goes to the heart of what America’s heartland is today.
     New York Times sportswriter Joe Drape moved his family to Smith Center to discover what makes the team and the town an inspiration for miles around. And in a new afterword, Drape returns to Smith Center to chronicle even greater challenges as the streak enters its sixth year.

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Chapter 1Championships aren’t won on the field; they are only played there.—Team motto for the summer, June 2008There was nothing but blue sky, miles and miles of it, disturbed only by cotton ball clouds that drifted across a horizon as flat as a tabletop and tiled with the gold, greens, and yellows of healthy crops. A John Deere combine, all shiny metal and sparkling glass, groaned in the distance as it knocked, skinned, and sorted wheat on the first day of what was going to be an abundant and profitable harvest. It had been a perfect summer, and farmers here were looking at an average

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Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Redmen

An inspiring portrait of the extraordinary high-school football team whose quest for perfection sustains its hometown in the heartland.

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Joe Drape discusses his book Our Boys

Hear author and sportswriter Joe Drape talk about his book Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen. The New York Times sportswriter discusses this high school football team, which holds the nation’s longest winning streak and embraces a unique philosophy of life.

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About the Author

Joe Drape

Joe Drape is the author of The Race for the Triple Crown and Black Maestro. He is an award-winning reporter for The New York Times, having previously worked for The Dallas Morning News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. When he doesn’t live in Kansas, he lives in New York City with his wife and son.

Joe Drape

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Joe Drape

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Available Formats and Book Details

Our Boys
A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen
Joe Drape

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
August 2010
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312662639
ISBN10: 0312662637
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 320 pages, Includes one 8-page black-and-white photograph section
$15.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Times Books
August 2009
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780805088908
ISBN10: 0805088903
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 288 pages, Includes eight pages of pictures
$25.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Times Books
August 2009
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429985055
ISBN10: 1429985054
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 288 pages, Includes eight pages of pictures
$9.99
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