Woodrow Wilson’s football team for the 1932-1933 season. Photo courtesy of Woodrow Wilson High School via Facebook.

It was the 1930s. The Great Depression was plaguing the country, destroying livelihoods and crushing morale. Though it had the power to force millions of Americans out of their jobs and cause many of the nation’s banks to fail, it couldn’t stop Texas football.

This is the story told in the new film “12 Mighty Orphans,” starring Dallas-born Luke Wilson. In it, Wilson plays Rusty Russell, the football coach of the Masonic Home Mighty Mites.

Woodrow Wilson High School faced off against the team of orphans twice in the 1930s. The Wildcats, which included some orphans from Juliette Fowler Communities, lost to the Mighty Mites 40-7 in the 1932 playoffs at TCU. Woodrow’s roster at the time also featured I. B. Hale and Davey O’Brien, who later went on to win the Heisman Trophy as a Horned Frog.

The Wildcats played Masonic Home a second time in 1939, and that game ended in a 21-0 victory for Woodrow.

Davey O’Brien. Photo courtesy of Woodrow Wilson High School via Facebook.


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