Friday Night Lights goes techie

- Recently, I had an opportunity to report on the sidelines of the football battle between Newbury Park High School and Calabasas High.

It was a slice of Americana that took me back to my own Southern California roots and school days as a cheerleader. Cue the nostalgia. Many things remain the same: the cadence of the marching band, the effervescent chants of the cheer squad and the roar of the crowd as the Panthers and Coyotes burst onto the field.

But as I looked more closely, it was a new game! High schools today have taken a page out of the NFL's playbook. Cameras poised in the end zone and in the press box.

Those images are transmitted to an iPad in a live feed. Coaches and players have the ability to view football practice and actual games in real time. Coaches said by watching during practice, they could perfect plays. Players said it was a tool in playing smart and safer in this high contact sport, by enabling them to adjust their tackles.

As my crew and I stood on the sidelines during that recent game, there was a lot of checking in by players and coaches on the iPad.

And quick sideline coaching sessions. Newbury Park High School is part of the Miramonte League. All of the schools in this league have some form of an instant replay system. At present time, it's not used by any schools locally as instant replay to call back a play or challenge a ref. But schools in other states are doing just that.

Newbury Park High School uses the Sport Scope and EDGE Replay System. A very basic system runs about two thousand dollars.

But by the time you add on other equipment and tricked out cameras that price tag can rise quite a bit. Newbury Park told me their system ran about 6 thousand dollars initially. And was made possible through an alum's generous donation.

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