D180725 Lawrence County football

Lawrence County head coach Rich Dutton addresses his players during the football preseason. [JERONIMO NISA/DECATUR DAILY]


Replay could be the future of high school football. 

At least that is what Lawrence County head coach Rich Dutton thinks. 

Last year was the first year the AHSAA instituted instant replay in high school football. Schools were given the option of using it or not using it, and for the most part I think most schools chose the latter. 

However, Lawrence County was one of the exceptions. The Red Devils chose to use the system, and for the most part, it yielded good results. 

“I liked it,” said Dutton. “In the Jasper game we had a touchdown that wasn’t called a touchdown that was overturned so that was cool. Then we had some calls that didn’t go our way.” 

Dutton chose to jump on it in year one, and after using it, he believes it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. 

“I think it’s the direction the game is heading,” Dutton said. “As long as the price tag doesn’t get out of hand, I think it does nothing but clean the game up.” 

Obviously, replay in high school isn’t like that in college and NFL. You don’t have the advantage of having camera angles everywhere, allowing you to see every angle available. Still, the system used did allow for some plays to be upheld or overturned, showing there was some value to using it. 

“They help out. The company that runs it through AHSAA comes in and does a tutorial, makes sure you’re trained properly,” he said. “We had two camera angles here and with those two angles we were able to see what we needed to see.”

Of course, things didn’t go off without a hitch. There was definitely a learning curve to using it, something that coaches and officials had to navigate. 

“Of course there’s a learning curve,” Dutton said. “It’s year one, and there was a lot that both sides, coaches and officials, had to learn.” 

Dutton chose to jump on the opportunity to use it mainly because he thought it would help the Red Devils out. 

“It’s been so fun to be a part of Lawrence County football and the reputation, our brand, and how people view it is important to me,” Dutton said. “Sometimes that gets me in trouble with scheduling because we schedule up. But this was something I felt that could give Lawrence County a good brand name. When you come here we can offer you something that’s maybe not offered elsewhere.” 

Replay right now is just something that can be chosen to use and most schools aren’t using yet. However, Dutton doesn’t believe it will stay that way. 

“It’s all economics. A few years ago they pushed for everyone to have 25 second play clocks and now it’s 40 seconds,” Dutton said. “Even if it’s not across the board, I predict there will come a time when it will become mandatory to have in certain levels of the playoffs.” 

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