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Madison Senior All-State running back Ken Cherry is fitted with a harness which holds two data gathering devices he wears during each game that measures his performance in each outing and that data is used for training purposes. Photo- Richie Carter Photography

Madison Academy Football Uses High-Tech Services To Be Better Team

MADISON- New technology continues to infiltrate high school athletics designed to optimize performance of each student-athlete. One of the latest to incorporate technology, which is designed to provide high resolution, high accuracy data devices, is Madison Academy. The Class 3A private school is currently utilizing two forms of data gathering devices for its football program with the attempt to provide answers to fundamental questions of their athletes’ performances by way of health and fitness.

Senior running back Ken Cherry is one of 10 on the team to wear a recording device during games which tracks his top speeds, acceleration and deacceleration. Actually, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Cherry is the only Mustang to wear two devices: one from Titan Sports and the second from Catapult.

“I put the devices in the special harness I have, and the devices fit on my back,” said Cherry. “Before each game I place the devices into a charger with the power lasting the entire game. Once the game is over, I place the device back into charger and it automatically sends the data to the company. Our coaches look at the data and they speak with me about the results.”

For Cherry, an All-State performer, the results are fantastic. His top speed during a game is 20.89 miles per hour, which is ranked No. 1 in Alabama. In the Sectional Track Meet last school year, he was clocked at 23.05 miles per hour.

“The data we receive is awesome,” said Bob Godsey head coach of Madison Academy. “The information the devices provide shows how we can better connect with players as too much workload can cause issues while the device also gives us clues on how to better train our athletes. The recorded information shows how our current training of our athletes is working, or in some cases, not working.”

Cherry, who played baseball and basketball as a youth, currently stars on the Mustang’s football team and will again be a force to be reckoned with on the school’s track team in the spring. As a child growing up in Demopolis, Ala., the largest city in Marengo County in South Alabama, he was always the first chosen to play on team sports because of his natural speed and in his elementary school he was always the fastest.

“Having the top speed in the state is a big achievement for me,” added Cheery. “I love the fact the devices track my acceleration, top speed and my deacceleration. I’ve no issues whatsoever while wearing them.”

For Godsey and his coaching staff, the recorded numbers mean more than how the athletes are running. “If their numbers are down, that gives us an indication of possible injury or fatigue and can help prevent injuries,” added the fifth-year head coach of the Mustangs.

Cody Hughes, the program’s Director of Human Performance and Head Strength Coach, is mainly responsible for installing the equipment within the Mustang’s program and liked the latest and popular data gathering programs. Godsey said Hughes approached him about the devices and agreed the new technology may be a good fit for the team and decided to purchase the programs to assist in improving the athletes. Godsey said more of the devises will be used within the team next season.

For Cherry, the data collecting systems are just another way to show he has the speed to compete on any level.

Digital Version

Digital version of The Madison Record – Feb. 28, 2024

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