Back in the game

A member of the production crew for the Netflix original series "Last Chance U" films parts of a time-out during a football game in Independence, Kansas. (Photo courtesy KSN News)
A member of the production crew for the Netflix original series “Last Chance U” films parts of a football game in Independence, Kansas.

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. (KSNW) – Production crews have been in Independence, Kansas filming the third season of the Netflix series “Last Chance U.” It’s a show that highlights athletes who have one last shot at earning their way into a Division I football program by playing at a community college.

The show follows the athletes and shows how these young men have to push themselves past adversity. Many playing for Independence Community College either had trouble with the law or struggled with failing grades. Playing for the community college is their last chance to get on track.

For the town of Independence, it’s their first chance to show off what their town has to offer.

“Honestly this is one of the biggest things I’ve heard since I’ve lived here, and I’ve lived here all my life.”                                    – Anthony Keafer,     Independence resident

“In my opinion I give this town another 10 years before it goes into a ghost town,” said Anthony Keafer, restaurant manager in Independence.

Facing the problems many small towns face, Independence now has an opportunity to showcase what they’re doing to survive. For those that call Independence home, “Last Chance U” gives them something to be proud of.

“Honestly this is one of the biggest things I’ve heard since I’ve lived here,” added Keafer, “and I’ve lived here all my life.”

The town of less than 10,000 people has welcomed Netflix with open arms. City officials have allowed production crews access to film just about anywhere. Community members are excited to watch the games and they bring a new support to the college.

RELATED LINK | “Last Chance U” a Netflix original series

The players in the spotlight are taking it all in.

One freshman said his decision to come to Independence is teaching him about more than just football.

“It grew me,” explained Marqualin Scott. “It made me more mature in so many ways. Not just football…like I got closer to God…got my grades better…got more focused.”

The opportunity to play in Independence was a chance Scott didn’t think he would get.

“I didn’t take care of my business in high school with the grades and everything,” said Scott.

“It grew me. It made me more mature in so many ways.”                                                                                                – Marqualin Scott, Indy CC football player

The transition comes with different challenges for each player.

Malik Henry is the quarterback for Independence Community College. Henry decided to make the move to Independence, transferring from Florida State. Now he feels it was the right move to make.

“I think I’ve grown closer with my teammates and also built a stronger relationship with my coaches,” explained Malik Henry. “They’ve made it feel as much like home as they could.”

It’s on the field where these men really push to not be defined by their past, but it’s off the field that the city rallies around their future.

“I think it’s awesome that people are coming out and supporting them. I think it really gives them a good vibe,” said Ricky Jantz, Independence native. “I think it’s giving them the intensity they need and I think it’s helping them. When you have a packed house and you have people watching you, you want to do well.”

That is exactly what this JUCO team is doing — playing well.

The Independence CC Pirates won their first championship since the 70’s this season. Some of the men on the team have already received offers from Division I schools.

The third season of “Last Chance U” is set to air on Netflix in February.

RELATED LINK | Independence Community College Football

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