JACKSONVILLE - A new gadget for the Alabama High School Athletic Association has been used the past two weekends during spring football jamboree games being played at Jacksonville State's Burgess/Snow Stadium.
Instant replay has debut with the Good Hope Raiders being the first county team to experience it.
Good Hope was in the first game of five assigned on Saturday and got to use it during the second quarter in the Raiders' 21-0 victory over Cleburne County.
Raider coach Alan Scott questioned the spot on a fourth down play in which the referee gave Cleburne County a first down at its 45-yard line.
Scott thought the run never reached the yardage for a first down and dropped his red challenge flag on to the field.
The referee, at first, told Scott, the ball had reached the 45, from starting at the 35. Scott was given permission to challenge the call as the referee and umpire went to the sideline to look at a monitor stationed on Good Hope's side, at the 20-yard line in the East end zone.
With DVsport providing video for the play to be seen from two different angles, it was determined the runner did not reach the 45 and Good Hope was given possession with Cleburne County turning it over on downs.
DVsport is providing software for teams sanctioned by the AHSAA to use for instant replay, beginning in the fall.
The software company, based out of Pittsburgh, has set up cameras in the press box and in the end zone in these jamboree games to allow teams and officials to get more accumulated with the system.
Scott told Sportspage the Raiders are planning to purchase the equipment and be the first in the county to use it in games in the fall at James Shabel Stadium.
Scott, who is also the school's athletic director, told representatives from DVsport, he and principal John Hood, would get together immediately and fill out the necessary paperwork to have the system ordered to put it to work when the Raiders play at home for the first time on September 7 vs. Cordova.
Executive Operations Assistant Danny Vliet showed Sportspage how the system is set up in working with a team's video camera.
An outlet is plugged into the camera that can provide video, with a monitor to be a tablet or other computerized device.
The system goes through the following. A coach must drop his red flag to challenge a call on the field.
The referee will indicate this is a challenge and will be joined by the umpire in going to the sideline to look at a monitor. Once the referee arrives, he will have 2 minutes to take a look, being able to slow it down and replay it, with no complications.
Then after 2 minutes are up, the referee will return to the field and determined if the call stands or the call will be reversed.
According to DVsport, this was the first call overturned after it was challenged by Good Hope, enabling the Raiders to stop a Cleburne County drive and take over at the Tigers' 44-yard line with 7:49 showing in the second quarter.
Good Hope was given an additional challenge for winning the appeal. If the call was not reversed, the Raiders would have been charged with the loss of a time out.
Schools will take software for a cost of $3,000 to $3,500. The price of the software was announced by AHSAA Executive Director Steve Saverese in his monthly newsletter last week.
Saverese broke the news in a press conference April 12 that football teams will be given the option to get the equipment, if the choose too.
Media reports have it that 25 percent of the schools sanctioned by the AHSAA, will use instant replay, starting with games the weekend of August 23.
Most believe that the large classifications will be involved with the software, while the smaller schools may not, due to cost and other potential situations, such as press box space and how many cameras can be used.
Scott insured Sportspage video replay will not effect electronic media such as WKUL-FM when the station comes to broadcast the Raiders, in which they plan to for three times at Good Hope in the upcoming season.
In seeing the equipment from DVsport for the first time, I was impressed with how the company is trying to use something in the latest advancement of technology.
My question is on the officials. Understanding what plays can be challenged, such as spotting the football, as seen in Saturday's Good Hope jamboree game.
The referee was trying to be bold in saying to Scott, the line to gain was correct on the spot. It turned out to be incorrect, with the referee's boldness having him to eat his words and change his aggressive attitude.
DVsport representatives told me, it's not perfect, but this does allow for plays, such as the spot of the ball can be replayed and in today's case, the call was reversed after the runner was short of the line to gain.
DVsport also informed me that the AHSAA was not accurate in saying that games could be extended from 20 to 30 minutes. I was told, each replay is 2:00 max. Four challenges are what are allowed, two for both teams. That's 8:00 for maximum time. An additional 10 minutes is what could come out if all challenges are used and no additional replays awarded.
Judgement calls at certain situations can effect the outcome of games, especially close ones. This system is to provide assistance in case it comes to that point.
I got a good impression from it Saturday in Jacksonville, but i still have some questions that I will look into at a later time.
Photo 1: Officials look at the DVsystem setup with DVsport Executive Danny Vliet prior to Saturday's Good Hope-Cleburne Co game at Jacksonville State University.
Photo 2: Good Hope coach Alan Scott visits with DVsystem representatives to understand the use of the software prior to the Raiders playing Cleburne County Saturday.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.