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KARLL: Replay for state title games should be a priority

VERMILLION--South Dakota's state football championship games have included an overtime, a first-time champion and exciting play after exciting play. However, it still lacked one thing--instant replay. The "should we add instant replay?" conversat...

Colome's Jackson Kinzer (6) breaks free for a touchdown run through the Sully Buttes defense during the Class 9B state championship game on Friday at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Colome's Jackson Kinzer (6) breaks free for a touchdown run through the Sully Buttes defense during the Class 9B state championship game on Friday at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. (Matt Gade / Republic)

VERMILLION-South Dakota's state football championship games have included an overtime, a first-time champion and exciting play after exciting play.

However, it still lacked one thing-instant replay.

The "should we add instant replay?" conversation isn't special to high school football, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't join the conversation. South Dakota wouldn't be the first one in the room, as New Jersey and Alabama use it during the regular season, Minnesota during the state semifinals and finals, and Texas during its championship games.

Sure, the DakotaDome is only JerryWorld to Vermillion, but the incorrect calls on Thursday and Friday, and I'm sure there'll be at least one more today, could have been corrected with a quick review. In 2018, they stick out like sore thumbs.

This isn't a knock on the officiating, as you can't expect anyone to be perfect, but that's the point. In 2018, South Dakota plays championship football games with five pairs of eyes getting one chance to see bang-bang plays.

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Of course they're going to miss some calls, and that's simply not fair for the players. After an 11-game season, teams' championship hopes are in the hands of five people who get one chance to see a play which could be nowhere near them.

It's not like adding a little TV on one of the sidelines would be a huge impediment. Adding replay capabilities in a Division I college football stadium wouldn't be a huge deal either, which is what makes not having replay ironic.

Everyone else watching in the stadium or at home gets multiple looks and views of a single play. During the regular season, mostly radio stations and newspapers cover the games, but South Dakota Public Broadcasting shows every championship game on TV, and the DakotaDome has a large video board with replay capabilities.

As of now, the backup kicker's grandma sitting 20 rows up has a better opportunity at seeing the correct call instead of the refs. That seems strange.

With the technology already in place and used by all but five people, there's no wonder wrong calls usually leads to loud boos from the crowd. And most of the time, the reactions are warranted.

When talking about instant replay, people are always concerned about the length of games, though that shouldn't matter.

What's the point of saving two to three minutes if the call is wrong and the outcome of the game is changed? South Dakota's championship series of games has always been known for stretching the schedule, and the second and third games of the day generally don't start on time.

So what difference does a three-minute review make? Especially if it means correcting a potentially game-changing play. If game time is that big of an issue, then add a time limit for referees to look at plays. If they can't figure it out in a couple of minutes, the play stands.

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It would have taken 30 seconds to see Nate Scieszinski, of Bon Homme, stepping in-bounds for a touchdown that was ruled out on Thursday. Or that Colome clearly recovered a Sully Buttes fumble before the Chargers' player was down, or that Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan stopped Sioux Falls Christian on fourth-and-goal at the start of the Class 11B championship game Friday.

Luckily, none of these calls made a major impact in the game. Bon Homme, Colome and Sioux Falls Christian were all winners on the weekend and none of them could point to those calls as being reasons for winning.

But just because a lack of replay didn't cost a team a championship this year, why wait for that to happen?

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