89 Blocks (2017) - full transcript

The players for the East St. Louis High School Flyers football team face exceptional challenges and inspiring triumph during the 2016 season


Those who look
at East St. Louis

from the outside...

...it would appear to
be a dangerous place to live...

...possibly be the last
place you would want to live.

But for those who were born
and raised here...

...it's home.


Hey, McGrown.

I'ma tell you like
I just told --

Don't tell me
you can do something,

then come here
and do the same, now.

Don't tell me --
We just walked --

You gonna what?

Hey, man.
All right, I tell you what.

keep walking.

Keep walking
your ass out there.

Keep walking.

Keep walking.

You saw how fast.

Get this...

Hey, chill out.
Hey, hey, hey.

Leave them pads alone.

Just leave them pads alone.

All right?

What's the problem?

What's the problem?

Well, why you keep blowing
your assignments?

Stand up,
and you tell your team

why you can't learn
your assignment

so we can win
a ball game!

Mental effort.

Everybody got
the same excuse.

- You can't process information?
- I can.

- What's six times six?
- 12.

Y'all see what
we dealing with?

That's crazy.

That's processing

That's the problem,
right there.

All that preseason hype,
all right,

means nothing if you can't
prove it on the field.

And the past three days,
if that's how you want it,

oh, this thing
gonna be ugly.

It's gonna be ugly.

* Roses I walked in the corner
with the body screaming "dolo" *

There's one thing every
last one of their coaches

saying right now --
We dumb and undisciplined.

We gonna make a mistake.

That's all they preaching
to their kids right now.

* You already know though,
You already know though *

There ain't an idiot
in this group.

I guarantee you
there's not.

Get down that line
and get big.

You're in one of the worst
communities in the country.

* She might get it popping

Yeah, we live this struggle
every damn day.

Halleujah, God.

But when we come out here,
we forget about it all.

Down the sideline.
20, 10, touchdown.

And we make a name
for ourself.

You tell me how you want
your story found out in the end.

Focus, then!

That we're a bunch of
undisciplined black kids

in the inner city?
Is that what we want?

No, sir.

we need to change it.

So, I'm asking every
last one of you, man,

how do you want
your story told?

* And I know you won't
tell nobody nothing *

* And I know you won't
tell nobody no *

* Roses

Bridgeton, St. Louis.

It's been
a long time coming.

been asking for it.

STL's got a new home
for hip-hop and R&B.

Welcome to
the all-new 100. 3 The Beat,

STL's hip-hop hub.


'Sup, there, y'all?

I'm ain't nervous.
Stop saying that.

I got my boys next to me.
I ain't nervous.

STL's hip-hop and R&B
is 100.3 The Beat.

Oh, say, the dark secret -- we got the East St.
Louis Flyers in the building.

Fellas, go ahead and take a self
and introduce yourselves.

All right.

100.3 The Beat, this is
State Street with Eastside here.

We coming through Harvard
to put East boogie

back on the mountain,

Y'all know how we rock.

All right.

All right.
That was nice.

Come on, man.
Come on.

Come on,
what you doing?

They acting
scared and stuff.

I just get it right.

All right, a bit.
I'm getting comfortable now.

Coach, I got to ask.
You got an incredible story.

You've done some
amazing work,

sent a lot of players
on to the next level of play.

It's -It's way bigger
than me, as a coach, you know?

I got into this thing

to help young guys
like myself, you know?

I mean, you know, these guys
I'm sitting with,

we're, you know,
we're both in the same --

we got the same type of
background, you know?

Like I say, I'm from
Camden, New Jersey.

- Camden?
- And as you know,

East St. Louis --
murder capital of the world.

And that's my goal in life, now,
you know, is to help everyone

that I coach become
a successful young man

and have an opportunity
to see things other than

East St. Louis.

Got to put a bag
of something on the...

Got to put a bag
or something on them...

Y'all can't just sit up
there with them... out.

Oh, okay.
All right.

All right.

Take it easy.

You know,
most of the time,

if you go with respect
towards people,

they'll give it back.

You get a few that just, you
know, "I'ma play the streets.

I'ma act this way."

Why are you not
in school?

Why are you
not at school?

But you're walking
the street.

Why you ain't washing
the uniform?

The sink work,
don't it?

The bathtub work,
don't it?

what you gonna do?

And when you get there, what you
gonna ask your teachers for?

Are You sure?

Go home, man.

You stay that way, though.
Yeah, there you go.

He's 13.

Fast, to be that big.

I'm trying to talk him
into playing football.

He's never played
football before.









You know,
I help out where I can help out.

On game days, I do
my ripping and running

and, you know,
whatever they need.

We push them out here
so hard to the point that,

when you have
the opportunity to be great,

you know it's
your time to shine.

East St. Louis
begins on the road.

They're going up to Chicago
to take on Providence Catholic.


Flyers, once again,
one of the best in the area.

They're ranked 4th in the state
of Illinois in Class 6.

Jeff Thomas has been a phenom,
for four years, as a starter.

He deserves
All-American accolades.

It's your time to face the man,
no doubt about it.

But Rayondous Estes
is the strongest...

on that football team.

- Wow.
- Wow.

That football team feeds
off of their quarterback.

you're saying the defense --

Lamontre Harvey,
State Street.

State Street is
the hardest-hitting player

to ever come through the
East St. Louis football program

And there's been
a lot of them.

Darren Sunkett,
head football coach --

if you don't beat the big boys,
they're never gonna respect you.

I ain't saying a fluke win.

I'm talking about
beating them consistently.

All right, we're gonna
put you guys --

we're gonna get you
to your locker room, all right?

We got a cooler
of water there,

if you guys need
some water or anything.

Quarterback Rey Estes
ready for another big season

after last year cut short
by that teacher's strike.

Whiz, dawg, come here.
Come on.



Taking it at the 7
for the Flyers.




Drive safe,

Y'all making
a statement, baby.

That's my son,
all the way. Turn it up.

High five, high five.

- Yeah.
- Yeah?

Did you say "yeah"?

Dude, good touchdown,

best luck in college.

You had a great game.

You did really good.

Safe travels home.

All right.

There's a buzz
around East St. Louis,

so there'll be
some scouts coming in.

And I mean, like,
a guy like Jeff,

they already know
about him.

He's probably got about 20,
30 minutes of highlights.

But for a guy like State Street,
he's undecided, so that's...

that'll be the
disappointing part.

If you're saying your goal
is go to school,

you have to
separate yourself.

So, every play has to be
an aggressive play.

Oh, man.

You can't even
see the top.

I want to go into the NFL,
but I mean...

a lot of us don't have
offers for real.

And we just trying
to figure out why.


I'm 6 feet and everybody
else is, like, 6'3",

so they gonna go for
the person that's taller.

I got to play like I'm 7 feet
just to show the recruiters

that I'm good enough.



And it seem like
they look over me.

Neither one of us had
a father to show us the ropes,

you know what
I'm saying?

Nobody in your family,


...went to college.
So, don't stop nothing.

Just don't
come back here.

- I know.
- Please, don't.

I don't even want to come
back here after college.

Because then, you end up with
four or five kids and a van.

I know you don't want
no van.

All right.



There you go.


He athletic like that.

You ain't never seen him
run full speed and make a cut?

That's Jeff Thomas.

'Cause, like, I know it's
like every time -- Every time...

That's Jeff Thomas,
you hear me?

That's Jeff Thomas.

We are set
for an exciting one today

between the East St. Louis
Flyers and the Cadets of CBC.

Jeff Thomas,
a sensational receiver.

Every college -- major Division
I college is after him.

That's why he's
an All-American.


he has offers from Alabama
and all the big schools.

the schools right in the area here from Missouri

to Illinois
are certainly after him.

And the quarterback, Rey Estes,
one accommodation,

although Mizzou
is hoping

they can pull out both of those
outstanding players.

Everybody should just
button up,

'cause this --
just an exciting one,

end-to-end action with speed
all over the field, here.

Estes to throw.

This time,
he's got Thomas in the end zone,

and it is caught!

He's what you call

The Cadets are playing with
a lot of emotions right now.

Oh, my God!


Lamontre Harvey,
the defensive lineman

they call "State Street."

Do you think these guys know
that college coaches

are in the house tonight?

And on the right side.
Throws it up.

And it is...



Oh, my goodness.

Man, big-time players
make big-time plays

in a big-time game.



Winning big games
is not easy, all right?

It's only gonna
get tougher.

Ain't nothing tougher
than this circle.

This is us.

This is our family,
and we gonna keep fighting.

Let's get it,
let's get it.



That's it.

This is --
This all mine.

Yeah, this is all mine,
right there.

I mean, I've read a couple
of them, but all of them, like,

just, basically,
the same, for real.

They just say
the same stuff.

I don't got the time
to read all of them.

I got this when I went
to the Oregon camp.

There was the top-5 times
in the 40-dash,

so they just put all us
together on the line,

we just raced,
see who's the fastest.

And I won.

It was kind of surprising,
but scary at the same time.

Like, I got something
to play for now.

Jeff, right now,
is, like, breadwinner

to his family,

Go get it!

He can't change
being a kid.

- Can you see it, Jeff?
- Yeah, I can see.

He's one of
the tougher kids that we still

can't completely
figure out.

'Cause there's a lot
going on with Jeff.

in the project,

we just being outside
just throwing a ball to me,

like, real deep.

And I got to catch it,
and like, if I drop it,

I got to, like, get
push-ups or run --

whatever they have
you doing.

And he's got
a lot of secrets

and a lot of hidden things
that's in him.

I believe he's witnessed
some things

that has forced him
to internalize

and find his
comfort zone

with being standoffish
to hisself.

And Jeff will push the envelope
as far as he can push it.

And it's scary
for his future.

The dynamics of
his family is definitely...

It's typical of an environment
like this, a lot of the times.

Hopefully, it becomes more
important with the days coming.

Because once it becomes
important to Jeff,

ain't no stopping Jeff.

Well, this is the championship
that we're going for again,

so that's important.

That's -- this year.

So, it's time
to put another one.

That's where it's gonna go --
right there.

The biggest part of coaching
in our city is just,

the kids hear so much
how great they are from --

from -- you hate to say
"meaningless people,"

but I mean, there's no
other way to put it.

You know, from people
who don't actually know

what they're watching when
they're watching it, you know?

You just see
the end results.

A lot of these kids just feel
like they don't have

to put the work in,

and the team's gonna
lay down for them

'cause of what they hear
and what they read, when it's --

that's not the case.

You know, you got to go out,
you know, day in, day out,

and prepare like the team

you're about to face is
the next state champion.

Don't want to be

He has a soft spot
for kids,

about getting the kids
to the next level of life.

And that's what I'm
all about.


Just that simple.

Then, I saw her
one night, out,

and she asked me out
for a date.

tell the truth.

- Boom-boom.
- Set the record straight.

Who telling the truth?

- Mommy.
- See?

Ah, that's my baby,

Now, she a
Rey fan, though.

She dumped her daddy
for Rey.

And I'm so tough
on Rey.

Boy, you talk about...

That kid knows how to
piss me off, but man, I love him

'cause he's so --
he's so headstrong.

Man, you got to stay
out all night?

You know that ain't right,
don't you?

I had a kid who was a teenager,
and he's an adult now.

I didn't put the time in,
with my first child,

that I should have.

I guess that's one
of the regrets I have in life

that I got to deal with,
and you know,

I try to make up
for it now.

...your mama, and like
I said, she pissed.

Did you talk
to her yet?

And she was pissed,

the junior year that I had was not the turn-out that I wanted.

Going on strike, all that,
like, that was crazy.

Like, we hated that.

no school tomorrow for students in East St. Louis.

Teachers are prepared
to go on strike

after failing to come to
a contract agreement.

Hardly a surprise
in East St. Louis,

where politics runs deep,

sometimes at the expense
of educating students.

We want to graduate on time,
we want our education,

and we also want
to save our season.

There is no
Friday-night football

in East St. Louis tonight.

The Flyers
are forced to forfeit.

By you taking our
football season,

it's like,
what's there to do?


Concerns about one of the students may surpass concerns

about those striking
teachers right now.

Rayondous Estes,
number 5 for the Flyers,

remains hospitalized after
a serious car accident.


If we were in school,
what happened

to Rayondous
wouldn't have happened.

Estes was driving his mother's van in East St. Louis.

He hit a parked car.

The van spun into another,
unspecified object.

Estes was in and out
of consciousness.

Slow motion --

my life just started
going slow at that point.

Slow motion.

I almost lost my life.



I put a scare on a lot
of people's faces

and hearts and minds.

And not just the team.

Y-You talking about
the community.

There were 2,000 people
outside that hospital every day.

The first two nights,
nobody went home.

You know,
kids get in trouble.

He shouldn't have
been driving.

The school, the athletic
program, is a safe haven.

It keeps their mind
on something positive.

To this day,
I still can't apologize.

'Cause I can't come out
of my mouth and feel,

like, you know,
that's good enough.

But I'll give you my word, I'm
not gonna throw another pick.

So, my actions got to speak
louder than words.

Well, then,
why are you worried about it?

That's the way
I'm trying to pay them back.

We can't go another year without
giving the city no hardware.

We can't. We've got to put
something in the trophy case

this year.

I can't keep
eating at no 10:30, dawg.

We can't keep being eating at
10:30, then come to practice.

that's straight brunch.

Bro. Bro.

Don't you see us
here bonding, bro?

Take off your

Bro, come take them
out for me.

Yeah, he ain't hisself.
He ain't hisself.

Throw him a Snickers,

Have a seat, Rey.

All right. Before we go
start anything,

I'm just gonna address
the academics, gentlemen.

We got one kid right now,
he's ineligible.

We have several kids
right now that,

you're one class away
from being ineligible.

State Street,
where you at?

You're failing
African-American history.

Nate Grant.

You're failing choir.

Every day that you walk
in a classroom,

every day you step
between them white lines

on a Friday night to perform,
you're building your resume.

Nobody's hiring
or recruiting people

and your resume
don't add up.

Rey, the most
beautiful personality

I ever coached --
great athlete.

You'll never get there
and reach your potential

until you want to separate
yourself from everybody else

and want to be
everybody's friend.

Jeff, all the ability
in the world --

your thing is mental.

You'll never get there
till you change that.

I'm telling you.

It costs $55,000 a year
just to go to Mizzou.

Who's playing here, right now,,
got $55,000 a year to pay that?

Hey, y'all see it
every year.

You see guys leave out of here
without getting no scholarships.

So, you can look to your left,
look to your right,

who's it gonna be?

I went to a camp
up north in Chicago.

They had a lot
of top-ranked players.

I mean,
they don't get noticed

'cause I feel like
it's a politic game

or something
going around.

My coaches,
they gonna tell me...

That's all you got to do,
is just keep balling,

eventually win a state --
win a state and ball a lot.

You should have more
offers coming in.

We went
on strike last year.

So, we didn't have
a season.

Come here, State Street.

- Yes, sir?
- There he is, here.

This is Lamontre.
- Kevin Park.

Lamontre Harvey.

- How you doing?
- I'm doing good.

Good, man, good.
What you weigh?

Uh, right now,
probably about 230.

I lost a lot of weight,
though, over the summer.

Good, man. I look forward to
watching you run around.

All right.

He'll be out there
watching you.

Go get dressed.

So, he's leading the D-line
in tackles for loss, sacks.

Welcome aboard, everybody,

to the Southwestern Conference
match-up between East St. Louis

and the Alton
High School Redbirds.

This is Jones, back to pass,
looking, out of options!

He is sacked
by Lamontre Harvey!

That's Harvey
giving chase.

Jones will scramble.

He'll throw, and it's
almost intercepted!

Great effort by the
defensive lineman.

It's Estes out of
the shotgun.

Looking to his right,
hit from behind!

The ball pops loose.

And a mad scramble
for the football.

The Flyers recover, but it looks
like that's Lamontre Harvey down

and injured
on the field.

- Here we go.
- My ankle!

I rolled on it.
- Rolled on what, your ankle?

All right.

You good, State Street?

All right,
sock off.

Have you hurt this ankle before?
- No.

And it hurts
all right there?

All over here.





Rayondous -- Rey Estes.


Will you fill this out
for me?

- M-I-Z!
- Z-O-U!



- Where are you from?
- East St. Louis.

- No way.
- Yeah.


Nah, you can't -- No.

A lot of Mizzou fans are saying to the quarterback,
Rey Estes,

"Hey, bring that Jeff Thomas
down to Mizzou with you.

Bring the other kid
with you."


What up, Coach?

What's up with you?
What's up?

You all right?

What's going on?

You on your own?


- You come by yourself?
- Yeah.

Jeff called me earlier
and said he'd come late.

- Couldn't make it?
- Yeah, 8:00.

I don't know why.
- Okay. All right.

I'll be back here
in a little bit.

All right.

Well, yeah, though,

All right, we're gonna
get after 'em.

We're gonna play
aggressive on defense.

we wan to run and gun

and try to go get after
their tail, all right?

So, you can be
a part of it.

You can be
the Missouri Tigers

and go win in
a national championship.

- Z-O-U.



All right.

Yeah, I seen film,

but I doubt if it's
still up there, though.


Quite often, specifically
when you're successful,

kids start to relax

and they think that
they have arrived

and they think they have gotten
where they need to get to,

And the reality is,
they haven't.

- Dude.
- Mm-hmm?


So, if you get relaxed,
complacent, things like that,

then, bad things
are gonna happen.

Daddy, I want this phone.

Not today.

Maybe when you get
State Street's age.

Maybe Trey will
buy you a phone.

You gonna buy me
a phone?

When we make it to
the NFL.

- Yeah.
- We'll buy you an iPhone.

Right now.

You'll get anything
you want then.

I got to get there first, so you
got to stop being mean to me

so I can get there.

You're handsome.

All righ--

You ain't
ever told me that.

Give me a kiss,
then I know you being nice.

Can I get a kiss?


You're not gonna
give me no kiss?


They about to fight?



What they trying
to fight for?

They jumped my little sister
at school, though, today.

They were fighting
the other day at school.

And they was trying
to get to a .38.

They was.
There she go.

They was gonna
pop somebody.

Being here,
you ain't gonna make it.

You either gonna be
dead or in jail.

It ain't too much you can
do out here, for real.

I came out, and he just said
we were doing take-offs.

I couldn't take off.

You're taking off now.

You're taking off
for about 5, 6 weeks.

"The Real Screw-ups
of East St. Louis."

"The Real Screw-ups
of East St. Louis."

Oh, he's got
a high-ankle sprain.

It's an injury that he's
gonna have to play with.

"What Could Have Been."

That's what we'll call it --
"The Could've Been Story."

You could've tricked somebody
and became a ball player.

It won't happen
like that now.

We'll put a memorial
up for you.

"Lamontre --
what could've been."



Let's go.
Kick-return team -- let's go.

We up.

Hey, Jeff, you ain't
joining the return?

They waiting on you.

Estes drops back,
looking long for Thomas down the sideline.

It's incomplete.

Pass incomplete,
intended for number 4, Jeff Thomas.

out of the shotgun.

Goes deep for Thomas!

They just look a little bit
out of sync tonight.

Jeff, where you at?

Time-out time-out.

Hey, Jeff, who pulled
you out the game?

Who pulled you
out the game?


We don't know
what that means.

Sit him the rest of the game.
He's done.


All-American wideout Jeff Thomas
not with the offense right now.

Not sure what the reasoning
is behind that.

Now, it looks like
Coach Luehmann

is talking to the officials

over on the
Granite City sideline.

All right.
All right.

All right.

Shake them up.


Looking at the camera.

Sit up.

Here we go.

Hey, I like
that one better.

They'll like that.

There you go. There you go.

Y'all got me
washing cars, though.

I need the bucket.

Donate, donate,
donate, donate!

Donate, donate, donate!

East St. Louis
is just steamrolling

through the conference
right now,

and the good news
just keeps getting better.

They got one of their best
defensive players back --

Lamontre Harvey.

Don't let these...
you up.

They scared.
Yo, you see that crowd?

Look at the crowd, bro.

They scared.
Let's go.

Get in there!
Get in there!


Let's go!

Let's go!


You lost!

No work!

They can't hang with us.
They can't hang with us.


all night, really.

Fake the toss sweep,

he rolls to his right,
throws right.

Got Thomas, but it's
out of his reach.


I got your back.

I got your back, Rey.

I got you, Jarrell.

I got you. I got you.
I got you.

Come in, defense.

Defense, come here.

Let me ask you

Are y'all gonna let these guys
in the end zone

and kill this game?

Well, let's go.

Come on, ref!
Let's get it going!


"We might not get
the ball again,

so we have to score
a touchdown."

Get your hands up!

Dickmann swings it
back to the left.

Tipped into the air.


It could be 6
the other way!

Inside the 20, all the way to
the 10, and into the end zone!

Touchdown, Flyers!

- I saved the day.
- Yeah, yeah.

I saved the day.


Great job, defense.

I challenged you.

You stepped up.

All right, so, hey,
here's the schedule

for next week,
all right?

And I don't want to hear nobody trying to skip out on this thing,
all right?

Now, we know we got
some people with

some academic problems,

They're in trouble.

Monday and Tuesday, gentlemen,
we're gonna have

mandatory study hall,
all right, in the library.

Without the
state championship,

you gonna get
that scholarship, right?

I know you ain't made your
decision on where you're going.

But you got some great offers.
I mean, I know you know that.

But you got to take care
of your business,

so you gonna
miss this game.

And you gonna be able
to support the team

the whole time, all right?

All right, you got --
Man, these people --

these kids
looking up to you.

You know that?
- Yeah.

So you got to take care
of your business.

Me and Harvey, we talk
about this all the time.

When Dr. Hanson came
and offered me the job

and wanted me to come take over
and try to rebuilt it...

What we have?
We had 17 guys?

17 guys, man.

A lot guys told their kids don't
come play football, you know?

Cut the grass ourself,
Coach Anwood,

he come out there
5:00 in the morning

painting the field,
cutting the grass for us.

- With a paintbrush.
- With a paintbrush.

Oh, wow.

Back then, those 17...

Would run through
a brick wall.

run through a brick wall.

They buy in.

The stuff Jeff doing,
he's got -- I love him death.

You can call me
and ask me for anything.

But he's a bad teammate.

And it's putting us
in a bad situation,

'cause all of the kids
see it.

The offense is built
around Jeff Thomas.

Without him,
we not gonna win, period.

When Jeff's not there, well,
Rey kind of doubts hisself.

Neither one of you can be
a star without each other.

You got your brother's back.
You got your brother's back.

You got your brother's back.

And that's what it's all
about, all right?

We got your back.
You should have our back.


Throw the ball, Rey.

What the...
What are you waiting on?

All this directing traffic.

Gator right, 18 zone.

This kid here, man.

This kid -- you don't know

what you're gonna get
from him, man.

I forgot, they can't play
without Jeff, though.

I forgot, my quarterback
can't play without Jeff.

Jeff his bailout guy,

'cause you ain't moving
the ball without him.

You can thank them 'cause
you can't do it without 'im.

Offense, let's go.

You're going
to mess around, man.

You gonna lose
your full ride, dude,

with that kind of junk.

This was a sloppy game
by East St. Louis.

They're gonna walk
away with a win.

The players will
feel good about it,

but the coaching staff
won't feel great.

You can shake your head
all you want.

You made it true.

Wake the hell up!

Get out that...

They're asleep, dawg.

Wake up!


Get on the ground.
Get on the ground!

Drop the gun!

1032, he just dropped it.

He a juvenile, too.

1029, check on a black male.

This is one of the ones
that should've been out here

playing football, but he chose
to run the streets,

and no matter how many times
you give him a break,

he don't understand.

Oh, here he go.
Y'all just stepped over it.

1032, recover.

.38 special.

Are y'all recording
this because we doin' our job

or y'all just being funny?

Which one's your son?

The yellow, bright one.

- Mario.
- Mario.

- Oh.
- Probably got a tongue on 'im.

I know Mario real well.

I kind of figured
you did.

It's not pretty.
Y'all aren't tryin' to...

You all are doing your job.
Looks safe to me.

Looks good to me.

Clean up the city.
Do your job. Looks good.

Mario won't listen.

He's still want to hang
with these ones that doin' bad.

You got to stop him from
hangin' who he hang with.

And I've been trying.

You got to keep him in the
house, keep him in the house.

They ain't go nothing --
they ain't go nothing

but send him up the river.

But I hope he learns his lesson
before it's too late.



The only thing stopping
Jeff Thomas is Jeff Thomas.

"The Great Gatsby"
is the next novel

that we're going
to dive into.

We can only do so much.

You know, we can
knock on the door.

We can go get him.
We've done that.

We went a whole semester
picking him up every morning,

and you still get the door
shut in your face sometime.

"No, Jeff's not
going to school."

"Jeff's not here,"
but we know Jeff's there.

You know, if I came to work two
times a week and missed three,

you're fired after
a certain period of time.

I'm out here trying
to bust my tail

trying to get on
the level where he at.

If I was in his shoes, I'd be
the happiest man in the world.


Which way you want to go?

What do you want to do
with your life?

How do you want Jeff Thomas
to be remembered?

Jeff Thomas take care
of business in the classroom,

Jeff Thomas is a potential
millionaire in 2, 3 years.




It's real simple, gentlemen.

State championship teams
don't act like this.

Until you guys are ready
to control your...

we're not gonna waste
our time doing it.

I know what it takes
to police your team,

and the leaders on this team
are not doing it.

So, hey,
we gonna call it a day.

We'll come on back Wednesday.

Tomorrow, we gonna
take us the day off.

We gonna show you
just how it feels.

Y'all don't even deserve
to sit in this here

City of Champions circle,

'cause this ain't
how champions act.

Let's go.
Clear the field.

Y'all talk that way.

- That's dumb.
- Can't do nothing for real.

We can't get in contact
with Jeff. His phone broke.

We just got to talk.

We got to wait till we
catch him in person.

But y'all got practice.
Y'all got a game Friday.

We don't have to practice.

If y'all really want
to practice,

if y'all's
was really dedicated,

y'all will go out
there on that field by yourself.

- Y'all don't care enough.
- No, they don't.

- They just sitting --
- Y'all just sitting around.

Y'all don't --
Y'all don't want it.

Y'all don't want it.

Y'all don't want it!

Thing is getting
them to realize

what it takes to win a state
title, the importance of it.

We as coaches can talk
till we're blue in the face.

If it doesn't register
with those guys, you know,

we're not gonna advance
very far anyway.



All the seniors over there
by Coach Sunkett.

All the seniors
over there.

Hey, yo, go over there
and talk that stuff out

with y'all Coach, man.

Since y'all went
and organized yourselves,

get yourselves together.

First order of business
is why we all got him here.

Y'all need to vote Jeff Thomas
off this football team

and then believe that you can
go ahead and win this...

thing without him.

And I'm telling you my opinion.

He's BS'd his team
for three years in a row

doing what he wants to do,

and I don't care
what y'all think.

I never seen a guy
on that status just say,

"To hell with this team,
school, whatever."

Second order of business
is you guys never win

unless you had to get your
organized team, that's obvious.

As it's quarterback,
you can organize your guys.

Championship teams
don't act this way.

Y'all got a lot of places
y'all can go,

but being here up in our face
ain't doin' nothing right now.




Can we talk to you?

Yeah, what's up?

We want you
to come back there.



Everybody saying you want out
of East St. Louis, right?

You want out
for a minute, right?

Everybody in this group,
that's what you want?

So if this is the avenue
to get it down,

if you're not putting
the right foot forward,

how you gonna get it done?

I mean, how are you
gonna get it done?

Ask yourselves that question.

And it's crazy --
a bunch of y'all got kids,

so what you raisin'
your kid to be?

You want your kid
live that life?

You want your daughter's to risk
getting acid thrown on her,

her face scratched up,
any them things?

You want your son
getting jumped on, Markevion?

But who's tryin' to make
a difference for 'em?

And you're never gonna
get away from it,

'cause your parents,
they probably still there,

you aunties, your uncles,

your grandparents --
they all still there.

But don't mean
you can't better yourself.

Now, what are you gonna do?

You gonna utilize your gift?

Or we stuck right here?

"Coach Sunkett, man,
he be trippin'.

He stay on our ass."

We stay on your ass
for a reason.

We hoping y'all want it.

Hoping you want it.




Get it down, get it down,
get it down!


You know, I'm just happy
for the guys right now.

This is something
that they really looked

forward to,
and they accomplished that.

Now it's time for us to move on
to the playoffs.

Holla at you boys, 979, 104.1
on the East Side.

Hey, man, we doing a tribute
to the East St. Louis Flyers.

I mean, this team's
looked great all year,

but these Illinois State
playoffs are a gauntlet.

Those teams are good,

and they're playing
with the big boys.

What, it's Class 7A?

- Yeah.
- Hell yeah, boy!

They got through first-round
game against Lincoln

without really
breaking a sweat,

but they've got by far the
toughest game of the playoffs

coming up with that powerhouse
from Glenbard North

here in the second round.

All right, watch yourself.

One hit changed... whole complex
about this damn game.

Football is a mentality.

Got his teeth damn
near knocked out.

He don't want to block
nobody else.

He feeling around.

Hey, I'm telling you --
contact don't hurt, man.

I don't hurt like that.

Watch you feel around.
Tell me, you teach this coach.

Contact don't hurt, man.
Hat in hands.



Come on. Let's go out here
and have a good practice.

We understood?

Yes, sir.

Dang. These guys
are something else.


Tight in, Ocho.

Down. Right there.
Right there.

Right there.

Come on, again.
Let's go.

Eyes up.
Stay up.

Right there.

Let's see it again.


He not going to play,
so he might well get used

to playing it.



Come here, boy.

Come here, Joe.


- Who, man?
- Huh?

- Who.
- Your cuz, man.

- Who?
- I'll let your people tell you?

Who? Who, man?

you just got a text?

Some girl just texted me.

- Come on, it'll be all right.
- Who?

Come on,
let your granny tell you.

That's why she up here.

She ain't want nobody else
to tell you.

You understand?

Come on, let's walk.


Come on, we got you,
big dog.

You know that, right?

You know, you got
to be strong for your mama.

You know what I'm sayin'?
For your granny.

You got to be strong
enough for them.

I wouldn't tell 'im.

I wanted y'all
to talk to him.

He said, mommy,
you lying.

how you going to drive?

That's why I told you
not to come.

She can't drive.

You good?

Come here, girl.
You all right?

- I'm all right.
- Need somebody to drive you?

They cousins, and they just,
like, best friends.

That's all, man.


It's crazy here, man.

Yeah, man.

Mm, mm, mm.

We don't know exactly,
but they just said

he'd been in a car accident.

Like, everybody on
the football team knew 'im.

Like, we was hanging
around with 'im

outside of school
and all that.

He was 16.

17, I don't know.

More tonight
about a police pursuit

that ended with
a crash in Illinois.

Police say the suspect
in the car is dead

and is only 17 years old.


this deadly crashed
started as a police chase.


before crashing
into a light pole

near the intersection
of 18th and Baugh.

The impact was so hard,
it snapped the pole in half

and fell onto the car.


When the officers
approached the vehicle,

the vehicle took off
at highway speed.



I just want to...

experience more...

before, like, I die, whatever.

So I can just see
what's really out there.

'Cause I know there's
more than what...

what -- what this
89 blocks give, so...


I've seen this, like,
too much, y'all.

I don't want to see this, man.

We all better than this.

We all don't got nothing.
We all don't got nothing.

We all tryin' to have somethin'.

We all trying to have somethin'.

I don't want to see no...

more names on the concrete.

I don't like seeing
T-shirts, man.

This is real, kids.

Y'all don't know
'cause y'all so lost

in this Instagram and Facebook.

Can y'all hear me?

Raise your hand
if you can hear me.

Hear the candle, y'all.

This is for my nephew, Kychaun.

He ain't comin' home, y'all.

My heart
is breakin' tonight

for every mother
that has lost a child,

for every sibling
that has to wake up

without their sister
or their brother.

We are a black people.

We are strong people.

We have to let go of our pride.

If you want to rep
East St. Louis, rep...

that people want to come and see
what's happenin'

in East St. Louis,
that God comes in

and transforms
East St. Louis.

This is how real life
feels, y'all.

Please, can y'all help me

protect our city
that we say is so good,

that y'all say y'all
gonna die about.

I was the street so they
wouldn't have to be.

Let's go.

Oh, my Kychaun!

I will lose my voice
so y'all can have one.


Everything happen right now.

No, we do it right here.

Let's go.
- This is about heart, here.

This is about heart, here.

- Mm-hmm.
- You understand what I'm sayin'?

This is -- As he always rest
in peace and all that,

what would your boy
want you to do?

What would your boy
want you to do?

It is round two
of the Illinois Class

7A State Championship playoffs.

- Here you go.
- Undefeated East St. Louis

draws by far their toughest
test of the season.

It's Glenbard North,
a top-10 team in the state,

athletes all over the field,

and they're playing their best
football at the right time.

Flyers will get the ball first.

Thomas and Hall
back deep to receive.

You got the edge.
Hit it.

All right, you're tight.

A little side screen
to Thomas. Nice catch.

He'll make a move upfield

and lost the football!

It's on the turf,
and Glenbard will recover.

They got us going, man.

Conway out of the shotgun.

Looking deep left.

He's got a man in the end zone.


Touchdown, Panthers.

You ain't aggressive!

You're waiting!

Don't wait on the receiver
to hit him!

You hit him!

Anderson, off tackle left.

Gets a couple blocks!

Into the end zone, touchdown!

Like in there,
you get the shoulder.

All right? Good block.
Boy, that was a hell of a block.

Conway, pass is complete.

And Hall missed the tackle!

Touchdown, Glenbard.

Just completely uncharacteristic
mistakes from the Flyers today.

Them two screw-ups,
them two screw-ups on you.

Come on, he challenging you.
He challenging you!

He challenging you.

There you go, Walter!

Estes on the move,
scampering up the middle.

Nobody home, he'll walk
into the end zone.

Touchdown, Flyers.

Well, you can't say they've
played their best today,

but Rey Estes has come up huge
to keep the Flyers in this game.

Somebody stretch Rey out.

Jimmy John,
we got to get stops.

Right, we got to.

We need one more big play
from you guys.

One more, come on.

Bates, number 3!

Conway out of the shotgun.

Flyers seem to have
some trouble lining up here.

Ball is snapped, and
there's nobody covering Newsome!

Touchdown, Panthers!

You got
to be kidding me, man!



Hey, hey, hey.
We got to to hold them here.

Come on, you're good.
We gotta hold them here, baby.

We good, bro.
We gotta hold them here.

Come on.

Let's go, Rey.

- Come on, Rey.
- This you right here, baby.

Rey, You been wanting this
state ring for a while, right?

Hey, we earned it!
This is the time.

Let's go, man.

Y'all got one more drive.
That's all we gettin'.

If we don't get it done
on this one, it's over with.

This is what we're made out of.
This is what we're made out of.


It's Estes,
looking to his right.

Now tucks and runs.

Scrambling to the right side,
but he will be sacked.

just take a three-step drop

and throw the damn ball.

They got to get on the ball.
It's 4th down.

Clock is still running.

4th down and 20 yards to go.

Man, we just blew this.

Man, this is crazy.

- Give me some time, line!
- Let's go!

This is it, folks.

Last chance for the Flyers.

Glenbard showing pressure.

They bring it.
Estes from the shotgun.

Has a man down the middle!

Yes, he got it!

On the ball!
On the ball!

- Come on!
- Come on!

On the ball!

Rey, Jeff, let's go.

Now Estes, up top.

He wants it all.

Thomas, in the end zone!

Batted away.



Hey, listen to me.

We're going to run
skinny routes, all right?

We're going skinny routes.

Eat this guy outside.
Let's go get it.

you got to get rid of it.

Scramble this way
if you got to.



- Touchdown!
- Yes!

And it's a touchdown,
East St. Louis!











Talk to Jeff.

Good job, fellas.

I lov -- I love y'all.

I can't begin to tell all you
men just how proud I am of you.

All right?
You guys never quit.

Hey, man.

'Cause I don't get
choked up like this.

We knew this was gonna be
our toughest opponent.

Anyone think I'm crazy?

Hey, man, we had
two angels on our side

watchin' over us tonight.

You know that, don't you.
- Yes, sir.

His granddaddy and our
little homey, gentlemen.

We have two angels
watchin' over us, all right?

Come on.
Clap that thing up.

Hey, Coach Sunk,
sun then came out.

- Huh?
- Sun then came out.

You see what I'm sayin'?

Held the job, get back
to work on Monday,

and hey man, we love
you gentlemen, all right?

We love you.

How bout them Flyers, baby!

You got my back?!

You got my back?!
- I got your back!

- You got my back?
- I got your back!

- You got my back?!
- I got your back!

Ooh, my God.

Oh, my God.

I knew Jeff
was gonna make up

for the mistake that he did.

I trust him.

Come here, boy.

Thanks, Coach.

I'm proud of you, big boy.

You hear me? Huh?
You hear me? Got you.

Come on, nephew.
What's up, man?

I love you, man.
Oh, my God.

I'm dying. Yeah! Yeah!


* Picture me balling

* Picture me
with the fifth of Henny *

* Something foreign

* Picture me riding round here
with a Benzo *

* Picture me blunted with
the tints on the window *

* You could see by the looks
of it I got the feeling *

* I told them... I'm something
they should believe in *

* I told my mama
they can't reach me *

* Hit the ceiling

* Baby this is just
the beginning, it's preseason *

* I know that you can tell
I got it though *

* Gotta go get it
that the reflex *

* I know you can tell
the winners by how we flex *

* I ain't playing
with theses... ain't no recess *

* Next time I look around...
Way up, way up, way up, way up *

* Only bad... round here

So, we've been
waiting for this one

in so very many ways.

We got it coming up next,
your 7A Title game, here on CSN.

On 4th down inside the 10.

Estes, end zone, touchdown!

Touchdown catch by James Knight.

It's 2nd and 9.

That run, could not
get away from another.

Lamontre Harvey.

He's gonna crank it up deep.

Looking for it all.

Thomas, touchdown!

43 yards, the All-American
with the TD reception.

3rd down and 6 here.

Picked off at the 15-yard line.

To the 40, the race.

Here it comes.

We'll take it to the house.

84-yard interception return.

Touchdown, East St. Louis.

Eric Owens, 85 yards.

And that could be a dagger.

* Next time I look around...
way up, way up, way up, way up *

* Only bad... round here


* I swear it's only
real... round here*

* Only... round here

* I swear it's only
bad... round here *

* Hey,
letting me get too drunk *

* High, we getting too
high to let me... *

* Just keep true,
share one with you *

* Blend, that liquor put inside
of what I made me *

* High, been moving too fast
I need to slow down *

* Said, too many thing that
I shouldn't have said *

* Hey,
just point out anywhere you want to go now *

* Now, I swear these...
don't know what it takes *

* Only bad... round here

* I swear it's only
bad... round here *

Good morning,
ladies and gentlemen,

distinguished guests,

news media from
across the country.

We want to welcome you
and the entire world

to the great city
of East St. Louis,

the city of champions.

Rayondous Estes!

Who will you be signing

your national letter
of intent with today?

University of Minnesota.

University of Minnesota!

Boy's made a solid step
into the picture.

It was pretty much easy.

You know how we rock it.

Coach Fleck was one of the
coaches that showed loyalty,

and the process
was all about loyalty.

First of all,
I want to thank my mom,

the coaching staff,

and East St. Louis
High School program

for allowing me
to be a student,

and my teammates,
which I call my brothers.

He growin' up.

I have him let him do
what he need to do.

He's a young man in life.

Lamontre "State Street" Harvey,

named First Team All-Conference.

Tell all of America
where you be going to school

to play football.

Iowa Western Community College.

I'm delivering --
delivering pizzas.

It's pretty cool, though.
It's relaxing.

I'm on the road.
I ain't in the store.

- Oh, hello.
- How you doin' now, ma'am.

- Just sign here.
- Matthew.

All right, bye-bye, Matthew.

You too, ma'am.
Thank you.

And it time -- it helps time
go by fast and stuff,

so I really like it.

It's cool driving, too,
but I go off to school.

Our next signee.

The University of Miami.

* I'm ready for the next

* For the next

* It's all about respect, yeah

* About respect

* I'm ready for the next

* For the next

* Talk about the past,
I'm relentless *

* I'm relentless

On the run in the first half.

They're gonna throw,
and the speed burner, Thomas,

is absolutely gone!

78-yards for Miami
going to halftime.

* I come from the rubble
and I know about struggle *

It's cold as hell in here.
* Know when it ain't much left

* Like how we gon' feed
ourselves? *

* How we gon' pay these bills?

* I want my family straight

* Gotta give more than most

* I gotta be more than great

* I'll make through,
no time to lose *

Hard work on 3, family on 3.
1, 2, 3...

- Hard work!
- 1, 2, 3...

* And do what it takes to be the better me *

* And win a championship

* And make history

* Krizzle

* I'm ready for the next

* For the next

* It's all about respect, yeah

* About respect

* I'm ready to the next

* For the next

* Talk about the past,
I'm relentless *

* I'm relentless

* I'm ready, I'm ready

* I'm ready, I'm ready,
I'm ready *

* I'm ready for the next
* For the next

* I'm ready, I'm ready

I'm ready, I'm ready,
I'm ready *

* I'm ready for the next

* I'm on a higher level Level

* Despite the negative vibes

* Dodging hate and confusion

* Tryna stay alive

* Tryna keep my vibes

* Tryna heal my wounds

* Tryna up my worth

* I gotta pay my dues

* I need to see this through

* For all the nonbelievers

* That didn't think I'm all

* Now I'm an overachiever

* But look how they greet ya

* I hope you make it too

* I'm just tryna win

* When they want me to lose

* Krizzle

* I'm ready for the next