From the equipment room, through the athletic training facilities to the film room, there have been a lot of state-of-the-art changes in high school football in recent years.
Some of the bigger schools have added extra sets of eyes too, from the top of the stadium to the sidelines to analyze and relay opponents’ schemes and weaknesses.
Usually all of that information is funneled into the command center, or head coach, who makes the final decisions.
But there are still some coaches who are “old school” and Mountain Pointe’s Norris Vaughan is one of them.
He is one of the rare head coaches who doesn’t have a set of plastic ear muffs and microphone over his head during a high school football game.
“I wore them for a while and didn’t like it,” Vaughan said. “I ended up breaking most of them and decided to quit doing it.”
Instead, Vaughan relies on an informational chain of command.
“We have a system,” he added. “People have certain jobs to do and I can’t have a bunch of people in my ear. All I need and want are two or three items of information on every play.”
Usually his “Radar O’Reilly” is running back and special teams coach Eric Lauer.
Vaughan said he also found it can be disrupting to wear headphones during a game.
“Sometimes people on the phone are excited and giving me information I don’t want,” Vaughan explained, “and it becomes distracting.”
In tense situations, veteran fighter pilots have been known to shut down a lot of the sophisticated onboard telemetry and just go on instinct and experience.
Sometimes Vaughan feels like he’s in that cockpit, too.
“I need pertinent information, not added information,” he explained. “If you’re talking to someone directly they give it to you, and whether you want to or not, you still process it. I decided not to do that.”
Flying by the “seat of his pants” like a veteran aviator, Vaughan and his coaching staff have turned the Pride around from a 2-8 team last season to a 10-0 contender, East Valley Region champions and into a first round playoff game against Mesa Westwood tonight, Nov. 13, at Karl Kiefer Stadium.