HIGHLANDS RANCH - Football isn't a one-dimensional sport, so sometimes a change in perspective is all you need to gain fresh insight into the game.
Highlands Ranch is on the forefront of using new technology to aid them in practices. The Falcons are taking to the skies to get the best vantage point. Their eyes soar 60 feet above the gridiron in the form of a drone.
"You can go up, down, turn it in a full circle," senior Jeremy Henning said. "There's a camera on it that's built in."
That camera sees everything. Highlands Ranch has been using the device as a tool the past couple of seasons to video plays at practice. The coaches say it allows them to see the systemic issues on offense and defense well in advance of their games each week.
"We like to use it on 7-on-7 drills where nobody can hide," JV offensive coordinator Brian Krezeminski said of the drone. "We can really see the footwork of a lineman, and make sure they're stepping with the right feet."
"We talked as coaches whether or not we were going to get a scaffold to film," Krezeminski said. "It's pretty dangerous, so what we decided was to try out the drone."
The drone typically records video from 60 feet up, and seldom do the Falcons' football teams need to bring it closer. The gadget, however, is never in jeopardy of getting hit by the ball. That's because the only player on the field who could get it that high is the pilot.
"I just kick for special teams, which is 20 or 30 minutes every practice," Henning, the Falcons' kicker, said. "Once they have the periods where they do 7-on-7 or full team, I just don't really have anything to do, so the coach who was [flying the drone] asked me if I wanted to try it."
"It's pretty cool because you can take it super high in the air, and you can see a way different perspective than normal," he added. "It's totally opened up how you think of football."
Krezeminski is hopeful one day drones will be allowed to record high school football games, where coaches from both teams will be able to utilize the video the following week. By the time that becomes a reality, who knows what new technology will emerge in the sports world.
"I think it's a brave new world," Krezeminski added. "These kids, these are the ones who grew up with iPhones and Androids in their pockets their whole life. So, where technology is going to go, especially in sports, I think [the] sky's the limit."
The Falcons are 2-0 on the 2017 season. Highlands Ranch will face Continental League foe Chaparral next Friday, Sept. 15. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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