The National Football League has nothing on the Eatonville Cruisers when it comes to high-tech in-game analysis of team performances.
Pros like the Seattle Seahawks go to the sidelines to review their plays via game-action images on Microsoft Surface touchscreen tablets and laptops. Cut to Eatonville High, where the Cruisers did the same thing during their season this fall, thanks to a grant of $12,000 from Rainier Connect to pay for the equipment.
“The technology allows us to correct improper technique instantly during a game,” said Gavin Kralik, the Cruisers’ first-year coach.
The payoff of technology on the gridiron is twofold, he said.
“We believe it allows our coaches to make the game safer for our players. Additionally, it provides a competitive advantage for our team because it allows us to make in-game adjustments much sooner than our opponents,” Kralik said. “This fits with the vision and mission for our school district in that we are trying to utilize technology in an ever-changing world to improve in the classroom and in the area of athletics.”
In that respect, the football team, which reached the district playoffs and finished with a 7-5 record this season, was a trailblazer for Eatonville athletics. The gridders were the first to utilize the equipment, which now will be available to other Cruiser teams with a goal of helping them improve their play, as well.
The Eatonville School Board formally accepted Rainier Connect’s donation at a board meeting Oct. 25. Board members thanked the company for its gift and listened as Kralik explained the functions of the newly purchased equipment.
In the NFL, each team has 25 Surface tablets at their disposal during games. On the sidelines, the devices connect to a WiFi network for access to photos of plays.
The pros have been using the system since 2014 under a five-year contract with Microsoft.