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Must Win: A Season of Survival for a Town and Its Team
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Must Win: A Season of Survival for a Town and Its Team

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  99 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Nestled amid cotton, pine, and swamps, the Deep South outpost of Valdosta, Georgia, has long drawn pilgrims from across the country to the home of the Wildcats, the winningest high school football team in America. Christened by national media as “Title Town, USA,” Valdosta has thrived on the continuity of dominance: sons still play in front of fathers and grandfathers, cre ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
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Oct 06, 2012 Kurt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kurt by: Amazon Vine
I don't think it's possible to write a book about high school football without drawing comparisons to Friday Night Lights, but Must Win is a worthy follow-up to that historic work. Jubera takes a similar role to Bissinger - he moves to a football-oriented town and embeds himself as a journalist, chronicling the high school football program and its pervasive influence on the society around it. Jubera succeeds at drawing readers into the life of Valdosta, Georgia, and its Wildcats, with just the r ...more
Victor Annoreno
Must Win by Drew Jubera is about Valdosta High School's football program. This football program is known nationally as "The winningest high school football team in America". This book has a very vivid theme of turning "rags to riches". At Valdosta High School coach Rance Gillispie not only teaches these ex convicts and farm boys how to be excellent football players but to also be exceptional men in life. God, family and football hold a strong presence at Valdosta.

The story takes place in a smal
Paul Pessolano
“Must Win” by Drew Jubera, published by St. Martin’s Press.

Category – Sports/Football

“Must Win” is a must read for anyone who enjoys sports, or anyone who just enjoys a great read. It is a story not only about a football team but a town and its fierce attachment to a High School football team. Southern Georgia is a Mecca for football players, especially for the colleges of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee, but there may be none better than Valdosta High School.

Former and present players are rever
Charlie Parramore
I wasn't aware of this book's existence until I spoke to a friend over lunch awhile back. When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of the Valdosta Wildcats even when I barely understood the game. Reading this book was nostalgic in that it reminded me of how passionate I once felt about this team. Also, it was fun being so familiar with many things in the book since it covers the 2010 season as I was living right here in Valdosta and was hearing about many of the events in the book peripherally. I thou ...more
Friday Night Plights ...

This book was reviewed as part of Amazon's Vine program which included a free advance copy of the book.

I remember reading the Sports Illustrated article ("Winnersville USA") my senior year in college (1988) that introduced the adulated history and lofty expectations of the Valdosta High School football program. The article detailed the pressure of the current coach (Nick Hyder) having to work under the ever-looming shadow of a deceased predecessor, Wright Bazemore, a leg
There's a spate of interesting looking books connected to the sport of football and here's another, as Drew Jubera spends some time in Valdosta, Georgia following the local one-time football high school power. Valdosta used to be one of THE programs in the US, now it's not even the best team in its area. A new coach is hired and the locals have new enthusiasm and hope as Jubera follows the entire season of 2010.

As with these sorts of books, various people are profiled and weaved into the story
Henry Singer
In Valdosta Georgia nothing but religion comes before football. The winningest town in high school football history is so good that they could go the next 65 years without winning a game, and still have a winning record. Recently though, the team has been in a bit of a slump. Over the last four years the team has gone a foul 22-21. So the school brings in a former Georgia State coordinator named Rance Gillespie to turn the team's losing ways around. The story is a day by day chronicle of Rance's ...more
Growing up in north Florida, I was well aware of the Valdosta Wildcats and their football legacy. We fortunately only had to march against them, not play them in football. But that was enough competition right there. You were either in the band or you played football - just the way they rolled - and they dominated in both! This history of their 2010 season and its impact on the school and the town is excellent. Had me laughing out loud throughout the book and made me cry at least twice. Mr. Jube ...more
I am not a sports fanatic by any stretch of the imagination, but this book made me want to go out & play some football! This town has heart and I enjoyed reading about the history of the town and its football program.
If you enjoyed Friday Night Lights then this is for you.
Focus on a South Georgia dynasty rather than Texas.
I enjoyed it especially with football season looming.
I absolutely loved this book. If you're a fan of high school football, or even just a sports lover, I think you will enjoy this tale of redemption in a South Georgia town, where generation after generation lives and dies by the holy trinity: God, Family and Football.

While i personally feel that Buzz Bissinger's "Friday Night Lights" will always be the gold standard for this genre of writing, "Must Win" is a gripping story full of interesting and likeable characters. And if that's not enough, Dr
Kristina Marie
I'm not really sure why Jubera thought there was a story to tell here. Maybe if he had let some more time pass to see if the team could really make their needed comeback then it would have been a better read. His writing isn't very good and has an ESPN-made-for-TV feel. The plot is all over the place as readers are bounced from person to person and in and out of time periods. There are a lot of facts, quotes, and histories being told without any footnotes- very frustrating! Overall, this one was ...more
Chase Sitten
Having lived in Valdosta for 5 years while attending VSU, I was able to spend some time around the high school through FCA and Young Life. The author does an amazing job summing up the culture and environment that is Titletown, USA. I couldn't put this book down once I started, and it took my emotions for a ride as the season played on and into the end of the book. If you're a football fan period, read this book! You won't be upset that you did.
IN the Must Win i thought it was really good but they needed more football in it but it was a good book and in the first pages of the book it talks about the players and how they work hard and fight for football but any way you should read this book very good!!!!! READ IT :)
I was very surprised how much I liked this book. If it had not been a book club pick, I would have never read it. I found myself rooting for the characters and the town. The author came to our bookclub and was delightful. A book club road trip may be in the works!
Really enjoyed this book. Provides an in-depth, emotional, behind the scenes look at the passion surrounding South Georgia football centered around Valdosta High School's winningest football team. Well written book and great character development.
The importance of prep football in Valdosta, Georgia cannot be overestimated. Jubera embeds himself in the community's fabric and emerges with a story rich with Southern characters who all share a compulsion to see their teen athletes win.
Eddie Sendaydiego
Oct 09, 2013 Eddie Sendaydiego is currently reading it
I think it's an ok book right now. It started out some what slow and boring in my opinion. But at the point I'm at right now it seems it is picking up to be a great sports book that will keep me wanting more.
This was a decent "high school sports as life" book. I had a difficult time keeping the characters straight but overall enjoyed the comeback of the town's football program.
Melanie Johnson
LOVED this book!! What a great book about the tradition here in Valdosta. Whether you are a Lowndes or a Valdosta fan, this book is a must read!
Wade Starling
If you have any interest at all in big time high school football in small town South Georgia, you'll love this book.

Awesome book!!! I may be partial because I taught in this school system during this year...
I am a sucker for high school football books. Not as good as Friday Night Lights.
Not quite as good as Friday Night Lights, but pretty close.
Jennifer Goudreau
Jan 13, 2013 Jennifer Goudreau marked it as to-read
I still have not received my copy
Matthew marked it as to-read
Jan 12, 2015
Carl is currently reading it
Jan 09, 2015
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