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We open on the town of Dillon, Texas. A radio show tells us, in no uncertain terms, just how much the Panthers mean to this town. But there's a change at the top of the club this year:
Eric Taylor is now the head coach.
A reporter at practice asks Eric if the reason for his hiring is due to his close relationship with the team's star quarterback, Jason Street. While the coach gives the politically correct response, it's apparent that Street is the star, a fact hammered home by a quick scene involving a Notre Dame scout telling Jason's parents just how talented their son is.
Meanwhile, via a reporter's questioning of them, we meet two other members of the Panthers: Tim Riggins, the rebel full back who appears to be hungover; Brian "Smash" Williams, the cocky running back who dreams of attending the University of Texas.
We also get a close-up later on of Lyla Garrity, a cheerleader for the school, kissing Jason and expressing her love for him. Seems like a solid relationship.
Another important citizen makes an appearance, as we're introduced to Eric's tough-minded, beautiful wife, Tami. She wants her husband to buy the family - which includes 15-year old daughter Julie - a new home in Dillon. Eric chooses to put the purchase off.
At the popular diner hangout, Tyra makes her presence felt. She seems to be Riggins' girlfriend (or at least hook-up buddy), but also makes a point of riling her man by hitting on Smash. This is a troublemaker for sure.
During Dillon's first game, the Panthers find themselves down in the fourth quarter to the Westerbee Cougars. Driving his team down field, Jason throws an interception and gets hurt making a dangerous tackle on the return. He cannot move.
Enter Matt Saracen. Unknown by many, the sophomore heaves a desperation pass in the last seconds - with a surprisingly strong arm! - and Dillon actually pulls out the win.
But Jason remains in the hospital, as the show closes with a concerned coach looking over his fallen prodigy.