MAIS to use replay at football championship games

Published 7:55 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

JACKSON — The Mississippi Association of Independent Schools is adding a new wrinkle to its football state championship games this weekend — instant replay.

The MAIS will allow coaches to challenge some calls in all six championship games. Scoring plays, turnovers, boundary calls, spots and misapplications of rules will all be subject to review, MAIS Director of Activities Les Triplett said.

Coaches will have two challenges per game. If they win the first one, they will receive a third. Teams will not be charged a timeout if a challenge is unsuccessful.

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The MAIS system is based more on the NFL rather than the college system. In the NFL, some plays are automatically reviewed but most replay challenges are initiated by coaches. In college, game officials typically signal from the booth for a review.

Triplett said with officials and coaches who are not used to working with replay, the idea was to simplify things and limit the number of reviews.

“That will take a little bit of the pressure off of us in the booth, because we are not going to catch everything. That way we can put the onus on the coaches if they see something we may not see. We’re going to review every play, and if it’s worth stopping, we’ll stop it,” Triplett said. “We did that for us more than anybody. We just don’t want to get caught in a situation where it was dependent upon us for every single play because you can’t see every single play.”

The Alabama High School Athletic Association allowed its members to use replay at regular-season games this season, although only a handful actually did. The AHSAA will also use replay for its state championship games.

The Mississippi High School Activities Assocation does not use replay, and spokesman Todd Kelly said there are no plans to use it at the association’s championship games in December.

Triplett said there are no immediate plans to use replay for MAIS regular-season or other playoff games. The cost of the system is between $8,000 and $10,000, making it too expensive for most schools to install at their fields.

The professional-quality broadcast of the championship games, however, made it ideal to experiment with. Every championship game is live streamed over the internet on and there are eight camera angles spread around the field. The replay system will use the broadcast’s cameras to sort out questionable calls.

“We had the technology at the championship games. It’s obviously the only games we have all year with that kind of coverage. When they do every game like they’re going to do, we just have it and our response is we want to get it right,” Triplett said.

Triplett added that the replay system is a work in progress and might be altered from game to game this weekend as different situations and issues arise.

The MAIS championship weekend kicks off Thursday at 7 p.m. with the Class A title at Jackson Academy. Tunica Academy will play Union Christian.

On Friday, the setting shifts to Mississippi College as Simpson Academy and Lamar School play in the Class AAAA Division II final.

Madison-Ridgeland Academy and Jackson Prep play the Class AAAA Division I title game Friday at 6 p.m. at Mississippi College.

It’s then back to Jackson Academy on Saturday for the 8-Man, Class AA and Class AAA finals. Tallulah Academy and Manchester Academy start the tripleheader in the 8-Man title game at 11 a.m.

“By the time we get to the third or fourth game, we might have tweaked it enough. It’s just an unknown. But we do have the technology to do it. What we’re going to do this year, we will be better at five years from now,” Triplett said.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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