12 Mighty Orphans

On the set of “12 Mighty Orphans” at Cleburne ISD’s Yellow Jacket Stadium. Location scouts for the movie, which is being shot in and around Fort Worth, first visited the home of Jackets football in April as a possible location. 

If you drove down West Henderson Street on Thursday or Friday, chances are you saw a movie crew filming scenes for “12 Mighty Orphans” at Cleburne ISD’s Yellow Jacket Stadium, also known as “The Rock.”

The movie comes from the book written by Jim Dent in 2007 that tells the story of the 1930s Texas high school football team the Masonic Home Mighty Mites out of a school constructed in Fort Worth for housing and educating orphans of Texas Freemasons. 

A group of those orphans — bound together by hardship and death during The Great Depression — were called the toughest football team around and in just a few years were playing for the state championship on the highest level of Texas football. The Mighty Mites remain a notable moment in the long history of American sports.

The stars of the film include Luke Wilson, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Wayne Knight, Vinessa Shaw and Jake Austin Walker.

Movie scenes have also been filmed around Fort Worth and Weatherford. 

When searching for locations to film the movie, line producer Dominic Cancilla said the director fell in love with the stone masonry at Cleburne’s football stadium.

“It’s one of the few period-correct stadiums in the area,” Cancilla said. “All this stone work was something that he absolutely fell in love with. It was adding an interesting production element.”

They filmed scenes on the football field and inside one of the locker rooms, which he said were pivotal to the movie’s climax. 

Movie filming at CISD’s Yellow Jacket Stadium

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