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West Forsyth was cruising, efficiently moving the ball down the field against the No. 1-ranked team in Class 5A, picking up right where the Wolverines left off last season after scoring the most points in Forsyth County history. One drive, one touchdown and West’s offense came to the sideline.
Waiting for them were West offensive coordinator Adam Clack and assistant Dan Kaplan. They reviewed the series – how the secondary lined up in coverage, how the linebackers moved before and after the snap, how the defensive ends pursued Wolverines quarterback Hampton McConnell and running back Trevor O’Brien.
Any debate could be settled with the team iPad, for on it was every play individually recorded for West to review at any second.
"It has been helpful," McConnell said. "We’ve been able to look at it and it’s helped everybody. Not just [quarterbacks and running backs] but offensive linemen, receivers, the whole team."
Welcome to the new world of high school football.
Among several new rules this year from the Georgia High School Association was one allowing coaches to film plays from the sideline with electronic devices and use it on the spot to coach players in the same way college and NFL teams have been for the past decade and a half.
It’s left local teams catching up, trying to figure out the technology available and how to use it to their advantage.
"It’s great technology, obviously," Lambert coach Sid Maxwell said. "I know for us and probably others, too, it’s just trying to get it processed and actually get what you need out of it to be successful."
Among Forsyth teams, West has used the new rule the most so far. The Wolverines had already been using an iPad during practice. An assistant would stand a few yards behind the quarterback and film plays to give coaches and players a point-of-view perspective on how a play developed and was executed.
West started taking videos during games at their scrimmage at Central Gwinnett. They had an assistant sit 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage with the iPad and film each play individually. During an offensive series, Clack and Kaplan told the assistant to mark certain plays they might want to review with players once the series was over.
"Things happen so fast," West coach Frank Hepler said. "It has been good to make some corrections on the sideline. I don’t know how far we’ll for with it, but so far we’ve done a few things here and there."
Other coaches aren’t so keen on the new rule.
"I don’t have any use for it," North Forsyth coach Jason Galt said. "All that technology is nice, but we’re just trying to get our kids lined up right and teach them proper technique. I guess it’s good to have and there’s a way to use it. I’m just not smart enough to use it."
"If it’s going to give somebody an edge, people are going to begin to try it," South Forsyth coach Jeff Arnette said. "But my personal opinion is it’s just carrying it a little too far, carrying technology into the game where you can watch a play right there at the game five seconds later."
The biggest concern raised has been over the possibility teams could steal an opponent’s play-calling signals. Coaches also said they worried using the technology could take away from a coach’s focus on the sideline.
But most Forsyth coaches acknowledged the technology is here and it’s here to stay.
"Technology is such a beautiful thing," Pinecrest Academy coach Todd Winter said. "Being able to use an iPad or video or take still photos of [defensive] fronts is just going to make the game that much more competitive."