FOURTH DOWN
FOREVER TO GO

An 84 Phoenix Production

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THE STORY

Facing a terminal illness, a small-town football coach leads an underdog team to the state championship in a game that—win or lose—will change all of their lives forever.

Fourth Down, Forever to Go is the moving true story of small-town Texas football coach Ken Little, who inspires all—win or lose—to be their best both on and off the field. But as his underdog team is fighting their way to the State Championship, Ken is diagnosed with a terminal illness that has him fighting for his very life—a life that wasn’t measured on the scoreboard, but by a legacy of mentorship, social change and a family he loved.

A Henderson football player celebrates after winning the state title in Fourth Down, Forever to Go
Newspaper clipping of Henderson football players celebrating in Fourth Down, Forever to Go
photo of newspaper headline that reads "All the marbles" as Chapel Hill faces Henderson in Fourth Down, Forever to Go
text that says Fourth Down, Forever to Go is based on a true story
A newspaper clipping that reads "Final Play" highlighting Coach Little's last game in Fourth Down, Forever To Go
Newspaper clipping reads "Lions 'D' Does It For Little" in Fourth Down, Forever to Go
the opposing team scores a touchdown on Henderson in Fourth Down, Forever To Go
A Henderson football player holds up a newspaper that heads "State Champs" in Fourth Down, Forever to Go
Newspaper clipping of Henderson football players celebrating in Fourth Down, Forever to Go
photo of newspaper headline that reads "All the marbles" as Chapel Hill faces Henderson in Fourth Down, Forever to Go
A newspaper clipping that reads "Final Play" highlighting Coach Little's last game in Fourth Down, Forever To Go
Newspaper clipping reads "Lions 'D' Does It For Little" in Fourth Down, Forever to Go
the opposing team scores a touchdown on Henderson in Fourth Down, Forever To Go
A Henderson football player holds up a newspaper that heads "State Champs" in Fourth Down, Forever to Go

CHARACTERS

Ken Little

Passionate football coach who stands up for what is right, even when it is unpopular

Fourth Down, Forever to Go main character Coach Little at a pep rally

Ken Little was more than a coach. He was a father, a husband, a teacher, a friend and a fierce competitor who respected any athlete with the courage to enter the arena. He had the same passion for teaching ninth grade chemistry as he did for coaching football, with a career spanning nearly four decades across six schools, primarily in East Texas, USA. In 2009, Ken was diagnosed with inoperable Stage 4 Prostate Cancer. The following year, he helped coach the Henderson Lions to the Division I, Class 3A State Championship at Cowboys Stadium in his final game.

On January 10, 2012, Ken Little passed away. Fourth Down, Forever to Go is his legacy.

Text says "You are not beat until you think you're beat." One of Coach Little's main mottos in Fourth Down, Forever To Go

District coach of the year: 1982, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2010

Area coach of the year: 2006

East Texas Officials Association Sportsmanship Plaque Recipient

Tom Landry Award: 2007 finalist

Ken Little was an inspiration on and off the field. His words and his actions impacted the lives of countless individuals—including his family, friends, fellow coaches and players he guided on their journey to greatness. Some have gone on to careers in the NFL, while others followed his example to become passionate community leaders.

Andree Thompson

Andree Thompson

Student Athlete

Andree Thompson is an East Texas native who trained under Coach Little as a student athlete at Big Sandy High School. Years later, Andree was hired to Ken’s coaching staff, where he contributed to many successful seasons.

Labradford “Del” Barnes

Labradford “Del” Barnes

Student Athlete

Del was the starting quarterback for the 2010 Henderson Lions. Despite a broken left arm and no practice in the week leading up to the championship game against Chapel Hill, he led his team to a 28-21 victory, completing 18 of 23 passes for 149 yards and two touchdown passes. Although he played offense, Del had a tremendous respect for Ken and the passion he brought to the team.

Henderson Lions player holding up a newspaper with the headline "state champs"

The Henderson Lions

2010 Texas State Champions

As Defensive Coordinator, Ken Little helped coach the Henderson Lions from a 1-9 record to State Champions in just two seasons. The 2010 team included quarterback Del Barnes; running backs Jay O’Neal and John Polk; wide receivers Lamarcus Brown and Jacoby Hodge; defensive backs Trey Vallier and Rome Pollard; and  linebacker Cord Fletcher and his twin brother Corey Fletcher on defensive end. Henderson defeated Chapel Hill 28-21 to claim the 2010 Division 1, Class 3A State Championship.

PROJECTS

A Henderson player being interviewed after winning the state title as part of the documentary Fourth Down, Forever To Go.

The Documentary

A documentary film based upon the book, told from the perspective of the student athletes, coaches, family and friends who knew Ken best. Production is in progress.

Watch the Trailer

A picture of the Fourth Down, Forever To Go book cover

The Improbable Biography of Ken Little

The moving true story of small-town Texas football coach Ken Little, told from the perspective of his son Brad. Publishing is targeted for Fall 2021.

A video camera that will be used to film the Fourth Down, Forever To Go feature film

The Feature Film

A dramatic adaptation of the book that brings Ken’s story to life. Screenplay is complete. Currently in talks with potential producers and directors.

Get Involved

BECOME A PART OF THE KEN LITTLE STORY

CREDITS

Fourth Down, Forever To Go author Brad Little

Brad Little

Author/Executive Producer

Brad Little is the author of Fourth Down, Forever to Go: The Improbable Biography of Ken Little. Currently serving as CFO of Black Mountain Sand, Brad’s career spans more than 20 years in finance—plus a single season coaching high school football alongside his father Ken. Brad and his wife Kate live in Fort Worth, Texas, with their three daughters, Caroline, Claire and Emily.

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We want to use the platform and powerful story we’ve been given to help change the world for the better. We want to lead by Ken’s example in how to respect others, overcome adversity and love one another. Each of our projects is individually unique, but they are all in service of these principles.”

-Brad Little

Casey Minshew

Casey Minshew

Executive Producer

Casey experienced Ken Little’s leadership, character and discipline firsthand, and he saw what an impact it had on the community. Casey co-owns 84 Phoenix with Brad, and as a Division President with Resolute Capital Partners in Dallas, Casey lives life by Ken Little’s leadership principles. He lives in The Woodlands, Texas, with his wife Glenda and their three children, Ally, Brody and MaKenzie.

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As John Maxwell said, leadership is not about a title or a position. It is about one life influencing another. Ken did this every day as a coach.”
-Casey Minshew

Bob Ledbetter

Bob Ledbetter

Associate Producer

Bob Ledbetter ranks among the winningest coaches in Texas high school football history, having claimed three state championships while amassing more than 200 wins with the Southlake Carroll Dragons. In 1993, his team broke the national record, achieving 72 consecutive regular-season victories. Despite competing head-to-head as rival coaches, Bob and Ken’s relationship was one of friendship, mentorship and mutual respect that lasted the entirety of Ken’s career. Bob is a member of the Texas Football Hall of Fame.

Derrick Nnadi

Derrick Nnadi

Executive Producer

Derrick Nnadi is a Super Bowl-winning defensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs. He is also the founder of the Derrick Nnadi Foundation, which aims to cultivate positive change in people’s lives, inspire children and families through meaningful interactions and assist those in need. Derrick’s father taught him at a young age that “As Nnadis we don’t receive, we give,” and The Derrick Nnadi Foundation embodies that mantra through all of the work that it does.

Will Cureton

Will Cureton

Associate Producer

Will Cureton is a former National Football League quarterback and close friend of Ken Little. With Ken’s coaching and encouragement, Will changed the trajectory of his life and career forever—he played starting quarterback for Texas A&M-Commerce, leading the team to an NAIA national championship in 1972. He went on to play two seasons with the Cleveland Browns from 1974-75.

Rickey Castleberry and Rodney Wilkins

Rickey Castleberry & Rodney Wilkins

Screenwriters

Screenwriting duo Rickey Castleberry & Rodney Wilkins have contributed to several major television and feature film productions, with credits that include “Straight Outta Compton” and HBO’s “Pretty Little Liars.”

ABOUT
84 Phoenix

84 Phoenix is a nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to support education and community leadership in underserved and impoverished areas. Our name derives from founder Brad Little and his late father Ken Little, who shared a football number as well as a passion for helping talented individuals overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, as a Phoenix rises from the ashes.

Learn more about 84 Phoenix $

a group of students puts their hands in as they learn more about 84 Phoenix

In the game of life, you will suffer setbacks. Every day will push you—push you to your limits. Society will tell you that you are not good enough. Not strong enough. Not worthy of your place in this world. But you must not succumb to those disparaging thoughts. Be good men, be a good father, be a leader in your community and don’t lose sight of a brighter tomorrow.”

-KEN LITTLE

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