Review: "24 Counter" is TC Stalling's Journey of Faith
The Christian actor shares his powerful testimony in this autobiographical documentary.
***This is a repost of an article from October 26, 2019, when Christian Film Blog reviewed the documentary 24 Counter upon its release as a rental. As it has now been made available for purchase, we are again publishing our review. The film costs $9.99, comes in the digital format and can be found via this link.***
A veteran of the faith-based film business, T.C. Stallings is best-known for his lead role in the Kendrick Brothers' 2015 hit War Room. Long before he launched his acting career, though, he chased dreams of gridiron glory, ultimately playing professionally in Canada, Europe and the Arena League. But it was earlier in his football career that God used a series of significant trials to turn Stallings into the committed Believer that he is today, and it is that part of his journey of faith that is the heart of 24 Counter.
The title of the documentary, produced by Stallings' Team TC Productions, comes from the play the then University of Louisville tailback ran to lead his team to an overtime victory against archrival University of Kentucky in 2000, and which serves as the climactic ending of the story. But we found Stallings' retelling of his difficult road leading up to that point the most compelling part of the film.
The youngest of six children, he grew up in Cleveland, OH in challenging economic circumstances. At a young age, he realized football could be his ticket to a college education - something no one in his family had ever gotten - and he pursued the sport with a focused determination, ultimately landing an athletic scholarship at Louisville.
It was there, however, that the difficulties soon began: position changes, injury, a new coaching staff, et cetera. Though a Christian, and an open one often engaged in public speaking about his faith, Stallings' admits he was an immature and hypocritical Believer. That changed, however, when he was confronted by a fellow Christian student: Stallings decided to deepen his walk with the Lord.
The final two thirds of the documentary deal with the ramifications of that decision and, while we won't give them away here, suffice it to say there were serious challenges to be met and obstacles to be overcome by the young college football player as a result - both on and off the field.
As productions go, Stallings' film is rather simple. With the exception of some play-by-play from the game, his sit-down interview is used to narrate the entire piece. The visuals consist overwhelmingly of that interview and also feature some graphics to bookend chronological phases in his journey, family photos, newspaper clippings, and footage of him on the football field in high school and college, including extended clips from the big clash against Kentucky.
If you are a college football fan, as we are, that aspect of the story will certainly hold interest for you: Stallings was a really shifty running back with a great burst, which is fun to watch. It is his testimony, however - for that is what this documentary really is - that drives the story and makes this production compelling to those beyond the sports fans among us.
The maturity God blessed Stallings with at such a young age, enabling him to make the hard decisions he made and choose to truly follow Christ, knowing he could forfeit his earthly dreams as a consequence, elevate this film and make it well worth the 70 minutes it runs and the $2.99 it costs to view. Christian Film Blog rates 24 Counter an 8 out of 10 and recommends you watch it, which you can do via this link.