The 2009 state championship high school football team at Abilene (Texas)
is the focal point of the film "Under the Stadium Lights" starring Laurence Fishburne, Eddie George, Milo Gibson (Mel's son) and Glenn Morshower among others. It's available in select theaters and streaming services like Google Play and Prime Video beginning June 4.
Abilene went 15-0 in 2009 en route to the Class 5A state title, beating perennial power and two-time defending champ Katy 28-17 in the final. It was the school's first state crown since 1956.
The Eagles were led by cousins Herschel
and Ronnell Sims
. Herschel, a 5-foot-9, 195-pound running back, piled up 3,314 all-purpose yards and 38 touchdowns that season. Ronnell threw for 1,752 yards and 17 scores as the team's quarterback while running for 1,185 yards and 14 more trips to the end zone.
Fishburne plays Harold Christian, a restaurant owner who serves as inspiration for the team. George plays Ronnell Sims Sr., Gibson plays team pastor Chad Mitchell and Morshower is in the role of Abilene head coach Steve Warren.
Rated PG-13, the film has had a bit of a rocky road to release. Based on the book "Brother's Keeper" by Al Pickett and the aforementioned Mitchell, an early version was previewed in 2019 by moviegoers in Abilene, producing less-than-enthusiastic responses
. Another company acquired the rights late last year.