Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) football coaches expressed excitement about the newly approved instant replay option for all regular-season games beginning in this fall.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA football coaches expressed excitement about the newly approved instant replay option for all regular-season games beginning in this fall.
The AHSAA received permission from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to provide instant replay in the regular season and postseason as an experiment beginning in the 2018 football season. The experimental period can be for up to three years. Current NFHS football rules prohibit the use of instant replay. Minnesota and New Jersey have also been granted permission for use during championship games.
The AHSAA has partnered with instant replay technology leader DVSport to provide Instant Replay Solution for its member schools. Participation by member schools is optional.
Clifford Story is a 20-year coaching veteran headed into his 10th year as head football coach at Lanett High School in Chambers County on the Alabama-Georgia border. His Panthers, the 2017 Class 2A state champions, are moving from Class 2A to 1A next season – and he’s eager to put the new technology to use.
“I think it’s a great thing for the Alabama High School Athletic Association,” Story said. “I’m very excited for it. My staff is excited for it. I know the way the Association works. I know the way the Alabama High School Athletic Association runs things, they will make it cost-effective for 1A through 7A.
“We had a representative from DVSport come to look at our stadium to talk to us about how it would work,” he said. “I told our administration if we need to, I’m willing to give up a lot of other things to be able to get it at our school. I want to make sure it’s something we can get done at Lanett High School. It will make football even better.”
At Birmingham City School Jackson-Olin High, head coach Tim Vakakes said he called DVSport the first day he heard the AHSAA’s announcement of the instant replay experimental period.
“We’re going to have it,” said Vakakes, who is headed into his sixth season at J-O. “I think it will help the referees get it right, and I don’t think it will slow the game down. You’ve got to be sure before you drop that (challenge) flag.”
Sideline video for coaching staffs was approved by the NFHS in 2013, but officials were not allowed to use those videos for replay. Vakakes’ Class 6A Mustangs have been using computer tablets on their sidelines.
“We already have a way to watch the game on the sideline with iPads and TVs,” he said. “A lot of times we’ve been able to realize that there was not a good call, but now that it’s reviewable it will be nice to have a way to get the call right.
“I think it’s going to be a good thing. What’s going to determine it is how many angles the cameras have. The more cameras, the more efficient it will be.”
Andalusia High School’s Trent Taylor, 218-127 in 30 years as a head coach, is proud that Alabama is at the forefront on instant replay. “A lot of our game is influenced by what the NFL and the colleges are doing,” Taylor said. “I felt it is was just a matter of time before instant replay filtered down to the high schools. I am proud that Alabama is the first state to bring it to the regular season for all schools that wish to participate.
“I have thought about it a lot but last season, I can’t think of a single time that I would have challenged a call. The year before, however, we had three or four. This gives us an opportunity to improve the game. Obviously, we will have to educate officials and educate our coaches, too, on how to use the system. From my standpoint, I see nothing but positives.”
Fred Riley, head coach and athletic director at Davidson High School in Mobile for the past 14 years, is for instant replay for one simple reason: Officials want it.
“I like it,” he said. “The officials association endorsed it, and that was my reason for supporting it. I was on the committee that finalized approval from our coaches association. Everyone now has some type of replay even if it is on their phones. That makes it very tough on the officials.”
Like Taylor, he doesn’t expect a lot of challenges. “Our officials get it right much more often than they get credit for,” he said. “I think the goal is to overturn the obvious mistakes that can be reviewed that impacts outcome. I do not see challenge flags flying all over the place. Our officials do not miss many of those.”