'When the Game Stands Tall' about Raising Mighty Men

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LOS ANGELES -- The story of legendary football coach, Bob Ladouceur, is hitting the big screen in the new movie, "When the Game Stands Tall." But it is Ladouceur's actions off the field that get the most attention.

Coach Ladouceur's quiet leadership overshadows De La Salle High School's winning streak of more than 150 consecutive games.

When he signed on to teach religious studies at the school in 1979, the Spartans had never won a football game. But that did not discourage him from adding coaching to his school duties.

"I was young. I was 24 at the time. And I thought I am going to give this a shot and see what I can do," Ladouceur told CBN News, recalling that time in his life.

"I was even trying to seek my own level of competence and see what I was meant to do because I really didn't know," he added. "And I thought this might be it. I felt real comfortable about football."

"I had a good feel for the game. And I thought, let's give it a shot. And once I got into it, it only took me a year and I thought this is what I meant to do," he added.

Jim Caviezel on His Role

In the new movie, "Coach Lad's" story begins with game 152, when the winning streak ends and things fall apart.

Actor Jim Caviezel, best known for his role as Jesus in "Passion of the Christ," plays the coach in this film. Caviezel discussed the greatest challenges of this role with CBN News.

The biggest challenge was "that he is alive," Caviezel said.

"That people would put the judgment down pretty hard on you," he added. "Normally, when you are doing a script you have just the foundation of the script that you are working on this one. This one there is another one and that's him."

"And then, who are we going to get to play Terry?" he added. "This is an odd couple. There are a lot of things that could go wrong that didn't go wrong."

Terry Eidson is "Coach Lad's" more animated assistant. That role was played by Michael Chiklis.

"I mean, naturally, they want to win the games they play," Chiklis told CBN News in discussing the real life coaches portrayed in the film. "But really what they want to accomplish is mentoring these boys into young men, who can be relied upon."

Tougher Off the Field

The De La Salle Spartans' story is tougher off the field and that comes to light in the real-life story of player Cameron Colvin, who lost both parents before his sophomore year at the all-boys prep school.

That loss was only the beginning of Colvin's pain, before going to play football at the University of Oregon and then landing a short stint in the NFL with the Washington Redskins.

Actor Ser'Darius Blain plays the role of Cameron.

Blain told CBN News Cameron was able to succeed against the odds because of support of brotherhood.

"That's it. He has the support of 60 brothers on one football team who won't let him fall into despair," he said.

Alexander Ludwig, who also stars in the film, agreed with Blain.

"That is the message of the movie. You can't do it alone. You need to have the strength to depend on someone," Ludwig told CBN News. "And that sometimes in the hardest thing to do, is to actually ask somebody for help."

Moved to Tears

In the end, this is a football film about a modest man dedicated to raising mighty men. And it is a story that moves many viewers to tears.

Coach Ladouceur said the tears are "because it is about kids and it's about their lives and about them navigating through life and learning."

"We have been fortunate," he said. "We get to see that every year. And we have cried our own tears in real time."

Assistant Coach Terry Eidson quickly added, "I think redemption always brings a tear."

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Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.