The digital age has finally reached high school football sidelines.
Take a peek at Lawrence High, which sets up a large television screen in front of its benches with several iPads scattered across the sideline for players to quickly watch film of their last few plays.
The National Federation of State High School Associations approved technology on the sidelines in July 2015 and the Lions started using it this season.
One of the biggest benefits for players is the immediate feedback and the ability to quickly adjust to opposing offenses and defenses. The Lions know it’s helped them in the past few weeks and it will again when they face Shawnee Mission West (2-1) at 7 tonight at LHS.
“One game I wasn’t hitting my shoulder and it cost us a lot of big gains,” senior defensive lineman Mark Greene said. “I fixed it and started to see a little bit of a decrease in the offense moving the ball. It helps out a lot to just be able to check and see what’s going on.”
The sideline video system is set up by Hudl, the popular video hosting service for high school athletics. For about $1,000 a year, two different cameras can feed into their own wi-fi system and be seen by six different viewing devices.
For the Lions (2-1), one iPad is connected to a TV, which is frequently used by linemen after each series. Lawrence’s linemen prefer to watch the camera angle from the end zone and skill position players like to watch an angle from the press box.
In the past, high school football teams had film study sessions on Saturday mornings following games. Now, it’s uploaded to the sideline at the snap of their fingers.
“Usually one of my coaches, they hook up a laptop right in front of me and go, ‘Coach, this is what they did for second and third down,’” LHS coach Dirk Wedd said. “Or if I have a question and a play gets blown up or whatever, all you have to do is go to play No. 6 of that series and you can see it right then and there. It’s a huge help.”
When the Lions moved to a platoon system with their linemen — none of them play much on both sides of the ball — it gives them time to review film when they are waiting to go back on offense or defense.
“Last year, I remember some things that I did wrong the whole game and it just made it harder for the whole team,” Greene said. “It’s good you can see your mistakes and fix it then and not have to worry about it. It saves us on Saturdays when we’re getting chewed out on film.”
But watching more film is nothing new for this generation of players. Teams uploaded film to Hudl and players could watch from home at any time of the day.
The only difference now is the ability to watch film during games.
“I enjoy it a lot,” junior center Jacob Mills said, “but sometimes it gets annoying because you feel like you’re doing it right, but then you watch it and you’re like, ‘That’s not what I was supposed to do.’ But it’s interesting watching yourself through it.”
Moore sidelined with hand injury
Lawrence will likely be playing SM West without senior running back Trey Moore, who ran for 496 yards and six touchdowns in the first three games.
Moore severely jammed his hand during the second quarter of last week’s loss against Lee’s Summit West and feared it was broken when he had it checked out by a doctor afterward.
“As soon as I found out it wasn’t broken, I was happy,” Moore said with a swollen hand. “I just have to ice it and keep it well this week. I’ll be ready for next week.”
LHS probable starters
LT — Kristian Russell, jr.
LG — Nick Englebert, jr.
C — Jacob Mills, jr.
RG — Jesse Tunget, sr.
RT — Kevin Nichols, sr.
QB — Dante’ Jackson, jr.
RB — James Reeder, sr.
WR — Ekow Boye-Doe, jr.
WR — Caleb Mondi, so.
WR — Jalen Dudley, jr.
WR — Clarence King, so.
K — Cole Brungardt, sr.
P — Dante’ Jackson, jr.
DE — Jacob Unruh, sr.
DT — Mark Greene, sr.
DT — BJ Murry, sr.
DE — Eric Galbreath, so.
LB — Santino Gee, sr.
LB — Azariah LeBrun, sr.
LB — Erik Shackelford, sr.
CB — Dante’ Jackson, jr.
CB — Ekow Boye-Doe, jr.
SS — James Reeder, sr.
FS — Cade Burghart, sr.