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Is it time for instant replay in HS sports? Local coaches say 'yes'

The GHSA does not allow video replay in any sanctioned sports. WGXA's Mason Prince examines the likelihood of replay in the near future. (Mason Prince, WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- We saw it in the Super Bowl on Sunday. We've seen in it college. But not in high school.

Video replay has become a staple of college and professional football for years now, but it has yet to make it's way into the high school ranks.

Peach County football head coach Chad Campbell thinks it's time that changed.

“I think it’s possible especially at the state championship," said Campbell. "When you’ve got a building that can pull up and utilize instant replay.”

Campbell has some strong feelings about this issue because it is one that may have cost him and his team a 3A state championship this past December.

In the fourth quarter of the 3A state title against Calhoun, a fourth down pass looked to be a completed touchdown. However, the officials on the field ruled the play an incomplete pass. With plenty of cameras and eyes on the play, Campbell wonders what the call would have been had video replay been available to the officials.

“It might be time for a change," said Campbell. "There’s been critical calls not just in our ball game but in the past - and if you’ve got the capabilities of using instant replay, we ought to think about being able to do that.”

Peach County appealed the call in front of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) executive board back in December but have yet to hear anything on their decision.

It's not just football coaches that are pushing for replay. Basketball coaches like Stratford Academy's Sean Sweeney see the benefit it can provide as well.

“I think it can definitely be used in high school basketball," said Sweeney. "I think if you asked me that five years ago there’s no way that we could even do it in division two, because it’s time consuming and it’s hard to get it done. But the way that the cameras are at every game now.”

This is Sweeney's third season at Stratford and during his tenure he has seen plenty of situations that replay could've helped solve.

“There’s been times where I’ve been like, ‘If they could have looked at that they could have easily fixed that call,'" said Sweeney. "Obviously I watch every game afterwards. But a call in the second quarter, do we really need to stop and fix that? Probably not.”

Adding replay would not only affect the coaches and players, but the officials on the field as well. Rusty Wynn was a high school football official crew chief for 40 years here in Georgia and refereed eight state championship games, his last coming in 2013. Wynn thinks that while the technology for replay is available, there's still plenty of questions that need answered.

“You've got to have somebody who’s going to watch the film. Who’s going to watch it? And are they qualified? And do they want to watch the film?" said Wynn. "They all of the sudden have to make that call. That person has to be trained. And the only time you’re going to have them review it is in the state championship, it’s not like they’ve been practicing all year long being a replay official like you’ve heard in college and the NFL.”

WGXA reached out to the GHSA offices in Thomaston but could not get anyone to respond to our inquiries on the replay issue. While the GHSA rule book currently states that calls on the field are not reviewable or reversable, it might just be a matter of time before that changes.

“Each year you say how can I get better as an official? And that may be an avenue, but it has to be a discussion," said Wynn. "It’s not going to be somebody saying this is what we’ve got to do, we’ve got to get all the heads together and say ‘How can we do this better?’”

“We all want to get calls right in critical moments in critical ball games," said Chad Campbell. "There’s going to come a time where’ it’s going to have to happen. I do feel like it’s coming down the pipeline, whether how soon it will be I don’t know.”

“They’re trying their best they can," said Sweeney of the officials. "At the end of the day I just think that everyone wants to get it right, They want to. If you can get a camera to help that, then let’s get a camera to help that.”

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