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Coppell High School videoboard

By John Loop, BubbleLife Intern

Friday nights in Texas are not complete without a high-scoring battle between two tough football teams. The crowd goes crazy, the bands play fervently and the cheerleaders encourage the team to stay pumped.

But with last fall’s pricey acquisition of a new high-definition scoreboard, Coppell High School’s huge fan base has had so much more to cheer about.

The hefty purchase of a cutting edge piece of technology did not come easily for the Coppell Independent School District. But the deal went through, and the old scoreboard was removed, already beyond repair.  

Once the purchase had been confirmed, students who are part of KCBY, Coppell High School’s award-winning student television network, including senior Mason Adams, were told they would run the board under the Friday night lights.

“Mrs. K (Irma Kennedy, KCBY Advisor) emailed a group of us, saying ‘I need some of the best guys to do this,'” Adams said. “I accepted the offer because I was interested in that kind of stuff.”

Before the first home game, the crew went through a three-day workshop, conducted by Daktronics, the company that built and installed the board.

The first game ran quite smoothly, aside from a small hiccup with the 200-foot long cord that connects the on-field cameras to the board’s live feed.

The board, in its first full year of use, was dubbed a success. This year, the sports crew for KCBY put together an intro video to pump up the crowd before games.

“I would give the first year a B-plus,” Adams said. “We have gotten a lot more comfortable with the equipment and the board itself.”

Most students only see what happens at the games, but the long preparation time for the video board crew is what makes the magic happen visually.

"We set up all of the cameras and tri-pods,” Adams said. “We test all of the new graphics and video clips we’ve received or created throughout the week. We do not leave school on Fridays until after the game is over.”

Although the crew is running frantically alongside the field to get the best shots of the players and touchdowns, no one is more stressed than senior Davis DeLoach, who operates the board from a small control room at the top of the press box.

“The control room is very busy, and as the director I have to focus on several things at once.” DeLoach said. “As long as things are going well, I don't really get stressed at all.” 

The level of stress doubles, especially when the Cowboys play in a big game like the thrilling overtime victory over the area’s top ranked team, the Allen Eagles.

“I kept asking them, ‘Should I put the We Won! graphic up?’,” junior Keith Kellenberger said after the Cowboy victory on September 28. “In the end, I just put it up myself.”

Because of the updated technology, the new video board has expanded the role of spectators at every home game.

“I think you definitely get to see more of the game itself,” Adams said. “With the other board, you did not have the instant replay capability we have with the new board. It is really cool to put the big plays on the screen and hear the crowd’s reaction.”