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The Drum

Russell Athletic turns state championship anguish into motivation in 'Settle Your Score'

The anguish of losing a state championship can have a profound and lasting impact for young football players, however Russell Athletic has created a compelling new short film which aims to use the poignancy of such experiences as motivation for success.

The Kentucky-based sports brand and its agency, Kansas City-based Barkley partnered with Robert Clark, the photographer of the original Friday Night Lights, to create a new campaign which aims to inspire each team to turn the one thing that haunts them from their state championship loss into the ultimate preseason motivation.

One of the six high school teams which are documented in the #settleyourscore series is the New Palestine Dragons. Coach Kyle Ralph’s team lost their state championship in heartbreaking fashion. Just 8 seconds from victory, the team saw their state championship hopes crumble with a last gasp touchdown which resulted in a 62-61 loss.

Russell Athletic called in Clark to document its efforts in helping the team to take the 8 seconds which has haunted them and turn it into motivation for the coming season. Clark’s powerful photos from 25 years ago inspired a franchise and his work for the new film aims to inspire the town of New Palestine, which was blanketed in ‘8 Seconds’, from billboards, yard and window signs to practice t-shirts.

The teams’ progress will be documented not only in video but by a group of student photographers whom Clark will mentor to become team photographers. The student whose photos show the most engagement on social will then earn a trip to the Russell Athletic Bowl as a credentialed photographer.