A small white object hovered high above the Green Hope field in Cary, N.C.
The four propellers looked too delicate to power the device, which fought rain and wind to maintain its position 100 feet above two rival football teams.
The game between Green Hope and Middle Creek (Apex, N.C.) was more than just a homecoming matchup and a faceoff of two of the best teams in the area. Green Hope was 5-1 and Middle Creek was unbeaten.
It was an experiment for members of the Black Falcons, Green Hope’s ethical hacking club of 20 computer programing students.
Last Friday, the Black Falcons used a drone to live-stream the game in what is believed to be the first such instance in the nation.
“It was gutsy for us to do,” said Christopher Gaw, a programming teacher at Green Hope who oversees the Black Falcons.
Black Falcons members were positioned around the field to retrieve the drone, help manage the network and recharge and replace batteries. One student was even stationed on top of the press box.
The students used an iPhone to connect to a hotspot and then controlled the drone by using an app. The drone had a high definition wide-angle camera. Fans were able to view the footage on their smartphones and provided angles previously unavailable for a high school game.
Despite his students having to land the drone several times because of inclement weather, Gaw said the device added another layer of excitement for fans, coaches and players on both sides. Middle Creek won 44-7.
“I think we broke the ice and blazed a trail,” he said. “Not only does it add a new way of looking at high school sports, but it’s a great tool for coaches and players to review plays.
“We’d like to pioneer this in Wake County and maybe beyond.”
The Black Falcons intend to live-stream Green Hope’s final home football game of the season against Panther Creek High, on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. The team also will raffle off an iRobot Roomba during the game to help raise money to compete in the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.
The stream is available online.