High School Football

East St. Louis football documentary to air Sunday on Fox

East St. Louis players celebrate after defeating Plainfield North 26-13 in the IHSA Class 7A high school championship football game, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
East St. Louis players celebrate after defeating Plainfield North 26-13 in the IHSA Class 7A high school championship football game, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. AP

The Fox Sports Films documentary “89 Blocks,” which chronicles East St. Louis High School’s undefeated 2016 football season, will debut at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on Fox Channel 2.

The film — executive produced by LeBron James, Maverick Carter and Sports Illustrated — details the Flyers’ nationally-ranked program and tells the stories of its players and the struggles they face in their everyday lives.

“We saw the screening of the film last weekend, and it was great,” East St. Louis athletic director Leonard Manley said.

ImagineMotion Productions was contracted by Sports Illustrated to follow the Flyers throughout the 2016 season. The production team was at every practice and game and behind the scenes, getting to know the players, coaches and those associated with the Flyers football program.

East St. Louis completed a 14-0 season by winning the Class 7A state championship game last November at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. The 26-13 win over Plainfield North gave the Flyers their eighth state championship.

Several stars from that team have gone onto big-school college careers including wide receiver Jeff Thomas, who has 13 catches for 273 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the No. 2 Miami Hurricanes. Quarterback Reyondous Estes went onto Minnesota, where he’s getting playing time as a defensive back. Linebacker James Knight got his first start at Illinois in the sixth week of the season.

The documentary is part of a new Fox Sports Films series called “Magnify” which, according to a review in Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports hopes becomes their version of ESPN’s 30 for 30.

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