Students at Porter-Gaud School take their football hype videos seriously.
Porter-Gaud, a private school in Charleston, S.C., with a rich alumni base, including Stephen Colbert and Khris Middleton, is 9-1 and chasing their first state title since 2002. Eight of their nine wins have come by at least 21 points, including a 41-15 thumping of nearby Laurence Manning Academy (Manning, S.C.).
The on- and off-the-field efforts are led by Cyclones' receiver and defensive back Derrick Main. The senior started the school's videography club and his Main Highlights YouTube channel gained national attention for a Clemson national championship video last year. Main, a 6-foot-1, 160-pounder with 15 tackles, two interceptions and two touchdowns, directs hype videos, which now include drones, a rising trend in high school athletics.
"It’s a game changer,” Port Charlotte High School coach Jordan Ingman told USA Today last year. “It allows you to diagnosis problems a lot faster and it keeps kids focused. When they come off the boundary, they’re ready. In our world, a kid is so visual. They need immediate proof
Though the drones, supplied by the students, are not (yet) sanctioned for filming Porter-Gaud practices and games like Port Charlotte, it's still a unique technology-embracing step by high school athletics programs.
"We have the full backing of our school and our coach. He is all for it," Main says of Rick Reetz, the Cyclones' head coach since 2009.
Main, also a standout soccer goalie, and his crew have become something of technological cheerleaders for the football program, using the videos to generate widespread enthusiasm for their season.
"Two weeks ago, I released a hype video, and some teachers were literally stopping class to show the video," he says, barely containing his excitement from the video (above). "It created so much buzz for senior night, and I've never seen so many kids show up for a game after that."
Here's a look at their latest creation, an elaborate production aimed at generating buzz for the playoffs, where they'll face Laurence Manning again, on Friday night.