As darkness descends over the flatlands of West Texas, every Friday EVENING, from September through December, a dazzling, disorienting glow, visible on the stark horizon for miles around, ignites the blackened sky. Looming over the landscape, Ratliff Stadium, the country's biggest high school football field, overflows with 20,000 spectators, their voices raised in the trademark chant: "MO-JO! MO-JO! MO-JO!" The crowd's jubilation rises to a fever pitch as the Permian Panthers--Odessa's "boys in black"--take to the field like warriors in an ancient coliseum. Once a week during the fall, this town and its dreams are carried on the padded shoulders of these young gridiron heroes. The exalted players are illuminated beneath the autumnal glare of those Friday night lights; the radiant glare serves as a beacon of hope to the townsfolk of this dusty West Texas town. Since their first season in 1959, the Panthers established themselves as the most successful football program, not only in Texas, but in the entire country. Now, in the last days of summer of 1988, the Permian High School Panthers begin the season with one thing on their minds--winning their fifth straight championship in their thirty-year team history. For their coach, Gary Gaines, it all comes down to his definition of perfection: "Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know you didn't let them down. I want you to put each other in your hearts forever--because forever is about to happen. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, with love and joy in your heart? If you can do that, then you're perfect."