Alabama experimenting with replay in high school football

Alabama has begun experimenting with instant replay in high school football, but don’t expect it to become a part of the regular season anytime soon.

Alabama is experimenting with instant replay in high school football. | Photo: Brian Cantoni
Alabama is experimenting with instant replay in high school football. | Photo: Brian Cantoni

The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) used replay in a pair of spring football games last week, and state officials plan to analyze the results. Even if the state does favor replay, it must first be approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations before it’s used in regular season games. According to a report from, that wouldn’t happen until next year at the earliest.

Alabama is the first state to experiment with replay at the prep level. So far, it has received mixed reactions.


“We were asked to throw a bunch of challenge flags to get an idea of timing,” Brindlee Mountain coach Matt Self said. “Truth is, there was very little we would have challenged in a real game. I think we both (he and Monroe) were a little timid at first. I could see it being a big benefit in a game where there might be an iffy catch or a questionable scoring play. I also think you might go a full season and only challenge a few plays.”

After the challenge flag is thrown, the procedure is much the same in high schools as it is in college football or the NFL. Officials ask the coach what he is challenging, approach the tent and then review the play. Many of the same calls that can be challenged on the higher levels of football can also be challenged under the current high school rules.

“I’m not a big fan of it at this point,” said coach Danny Smith. “I think it slows the game down a little bit. We’ll see. I know they have to fine tune it a little bit. I think we had two angles tonight. When you look at the college level or pros, they may have 15 or 20 angles. They can zoom in and out. With just two cameras working with a wide and tight copy and the majority of time you got high school kids videoing, it’s going to be tough to get the great angles like you do at the next level.”

The AHSAA partnered with Hudl to capture the footage used during official reviews. State officials plan to meet with the football committee later this summer to gather feedback from coaches.

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