'30 for 30' film examines highs, lows of 1988 Carter HS football team

ESPN documentary focuses on Carter High

DALLAS - A large crowd of football fans is expected to pack the Texas Theatre for the premiere of a documentary highlighting one of Dallas’ most talented and controversial football teams.

ESPN Films and director Adam Hootnick are preparing to release the latest project in the 30 for 30 series “What Carter Lost.” The documentary focuses on the 1988 State Championship team from Dallas Independent School District’s Carter High School.

"Everybody wants to know what’s going on at Carter,” said Jarell Cherry a senior defensive end currently on the football team.

Current and former Carter Cowboys athletes say there is a lot of history around the campus.

"Carter will always be that team that everybody wants to hear about,” Cherry said.

When it comes to sports, football is a legacy connecting Cherry with his dad, Derrick Cherry. The teen’s father was a player on the 1988 State Championship team. The team broke barriers and put Carter’s program on the map.

"That team was so loaded,” Derrick Cherry said. “We had so much talent on that team.”

However, decades later, controversy and scandal surrounding the 1988 team and some of its players are still gaining national attention.

"It’s just hard to hear about it all the time,” Derrick Cherry explained.

The documentary explored the chaos and embarrassment Carter High School’s 1988 football team endured -- from the constant court hearings, to grading scandals, from the arrest of several players, to the team ultimately being stripped of its state title.

Derrick Cherry says he kept out of trouble because his mom helped keep him focused. He is trying to do the same with his son.

The former athlete and his son believe Carter High’s history still has its athletics program under the microscope.

Jarell Cherry explained, “We can’t afford to make Carter look bad at all, because it’s already a target on our back from the past examples and the past people that look at us. So everytime we step out on the field, we have to make sure we are setting an example, so people can see how good men we are on and off the field.”

Jarell and Derrick Cherry are eager to see the new documentary. However, they want the community to continue focusing on the history of talent at Carter High, and not its troubles.

Derrick Cherry explained. “The way we brought this community together was by the way we played and how we brought that state championship back home to Oak Cliff," he said. 

“What Carter Lost” airs Thursday, Aug. 24, at 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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