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'23 Blast' plays well but doesn't score

'23 Blast' plays well but doesn't score

The football drama "23 Blast" tells a story that wouldn't make it past a pitch meeting if it weren't based in fact: how Kentucky high schooler Travis Freeman (Mark Hapka) lost his sight overnight after a severe infection but continued to play football for his high school team in the touch-based role of ball-snapping center.

Freeman's Christianity — he went on to become a pastor (and makes a cameo as one) — gives "23 Blast" a dutiful faith-based message of inner sight over biologically working eyes, but everything else about the movie is by-the-numbers inspirational trudgework.

Dylan Baker, a quality character actor making his directorial debut (and...