Located in Memphis, the Manassas High School football team had become the punch line to cruel jokes after years of losing seasons. In 110 years, Manassas football hadn’t appeared in a single playoff game. When Bill Courtney, a volunteer coach from suburban Memphis, took over the program, things were so bad, and his team so underfunded that several other schools in the state would pay them to come and, as Courtney puts it, “…get [their] asses kicked.”

Undefeated follows Courtney’s sixth season as head coach of the Manassas Tigers, when his tireless efforts to turn the team around have fine begun to pay off, thanks in large part to a core group of seniors who have developed their skills under his watch. They include O.C. Brown, a massive right tackle with undeniable skills, but whose academic difficulties could deny him a chance to play football in college; Chavis Davis, a kid with great defensive skills and a volatile temper, who recently returned to the field after a stint in juvenile detention; and Montrail “Money” Brown, an undersized but dogged lineman who dreams of a college education he can’t possibly afford.

UndefeatedFilmmakers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin have managed to capture genuine moments of glory and tragedy. They show us that people do care, while also acknowledging the skepticism some have about why a middle-class white family would take in a black athlete and not a black non-athlete. Perhaps it’s easier to understand when you watch this film and see the dire economic circumstances most of these boys are living under. At least by taking this boy in, they’re giving him a chance at better circumstances.

For Courtney though, football is about much more than wins and losses. He’s using the sport to teach these disadvantaged young men that they can rise above their circumstances and be somebody. A product of a broken home himself, Courtney understands that many people outside of Manassas High School expect these kids to fail simply because of the circumstances they were born into. He hopes that by winning at football, they learn that can indeed strive to make something of their lives.

Presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, Anchor Bay/Weinstein has provided a fairly solid 1080p transfer. Shot with handheld cameras, things look natural and have been reproduced as accurately as can be expected. The light sheen of film grain is pleasant and there are no signs of DNR or other digital anomalies.

The DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 surround audio is perfectly suited for this documentary. The underlying hip hop score comes across clearly and dialogue is replicated accurately. There is no real panning to found, but it’s not really necessary here.

English SDH and Spanish subtitles are available.

The following special features are included:

  • Audio Commentary: Directors Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin guide viewers through the film, discussing themes, shooting and editing, the film’s style and development from concept to final product, shooting the football games, footage continuity versus dramatic flow, and much more.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD) Six in total: Joaquin, Take Me Seriously, Fat Guy Plays Free Safety, Just Sitting There, Officer Swansey, and Attrition.
  • Black & White Teaser Trailer (HD, 1:42).
  • Making Of (HD, 8:31): Crew and subjects discuss the project’s origins, its collective themes, filming and winning the Oscar.