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08/27/2014

Ex-Cowboy bringing a classic Texas football story to the big screen

David-W-Carter-High-School-Football-1996ARLINGTON, Texas - One of the best stories in the history of Texas high school football is being made into a movie. Dallas Carter's monster high school football team of the late 1980's is going Hollywood, thanks in part to former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Ellis.

"This is the other side of Friday Night Lights," Ellis said Wednesday.

"Carter High", according to Ellis, has completed shooting in Dallas. Ellis is hoping for a 2015 release. Click here for the movie's IMDB page, which right now says its release will be 2016. The cast includes veteran Charles Dutton, Vivica A. Fox, and David Banner among others.

Dallas Carter is remembered as the team that eliminated Odessa Permian during the 1988 Texas high school state playoffs, and chronicled in the best-selling book "Friday Night Lights". Carter won the Class 5A state title, and produced a slew of Division I players. In the movie "Friday Night Lights", Carter defeated Permian in the title game, which actually did not happen. Carter knocked out Permian in the semis'.

Texas high school football fans often call this the most talented team in the history of the state. Players Jessie Armstead, LeShai Maston and Clifton Abraham went on to play in the NFL.  

236243135"I think (coach Freddie James) has the state record for the most Division I players off one team," Ellis said.

Carter's defense was known as the "11-man Posse".  The team was also known for scandal. Six of the Dallas Carter players were arrested, which were later called the "Carter Robberies." Players Gary Edwards and Derric Evans were among the players arrested, and served prison time. For various reasons, the Texas UIL eventually stripped Carter of its '88 title.

Ellis said the plan is to include all of it in the film. He said filmmakers have received permission from every party but one - a man he named, "Gary". Chances are good that is one of the central figures, Gary Edwards.

Former Carter coach Freddie James gave the movie his consent, provided he had a role. Ellis said James has a cameo, as a bus driver.

"The director (Arthur Muhammad, who wrote it) actually played on that team," said Ellis, who is listed as an executive producer. "He told me about this story, and I investigated it myself. I thought it was something good and something I'd want to see myself. ... The ups and downs of being No. 1. They had a kid who was inelligble. There were guys who got off track - an inside robbery job. They did wrong, but they got extreme punishment. The extremes of it made me want to do it."

Ellis said the film has no distributor as yet, but that he hopes to do that part initially so they can release the movie in Texas first.

"I don't know if we will get that accomplished," Ellis said. "Money talks, and if people throw enough ... my heart is in the right place, and if I can't maintain it, I'll roll with it."

This is a story that has every ingredient to make a fantastic film.

Twitter @MacEngelProf

tengel@star-telegram.com

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