Dallas Carter to take centerstage in ESPN 30 for 30 documentary

What Carter LostPhoto from ESPN MediaZone

On August 24, ESPN Films will spotlight the 1988 Dallas Carter High School football program in a documentary called What Carter Lost.  Even if you’re not a Texas high school football fan, you may recall that Carter is the team that Odessa Permian played in the 2004 film Friday Night Lights.

In the film Carter beats Permian, however, that was Hollywood’s twist.  In the real world, Carter beat the Panthers 14-9 in a rainstorm in the state semifinals.  The Cowboys did go on to win the state championship in 1998 with 21 players, who were offered college scholarships, including Greg Ellis, who was the Dallas Cowboys’ No. 1 pick in 1998.

The ESPN documentary that is directed by Adam Hootnick will look at the 1988 team that five days after winning a state title had three football players rob a Jack in the Box with pantyhose pulled over their heads. That was the first of 21 robberies that police connected to over a dozen Carter neighborhood teenagers, including six from the football team.

Watch Trailer of What Carter Lost

“The movie Friday Night Lights showed the world a skewed and fictionalized version of one of the best high school football teams in Texas history, the 1988 Dallas Carter Cowboys, but very few of the players, coaches, parents, and teachers involved in that controversial season ever had a chance to speak for themselves,” said director Adam Hootnick. “In ‘What Carter Lost,’ I was honored to help bring the Carter saga to life in the words of the people who lived it, even as I struggled to make sense of everything that had happened. Nearly three decades on, there still aren’t any simple answers, but I hope everyone who encounters these unforgettable people and events will walk away asking hard questions about what it means to be a teammate or a leader.”

What Carter Lost will air August 24 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

For those of you interested in what the real Carter/Permian game looked like, check-out the YouTube video below.

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.