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YOUTH FLAG GAME RULES

Game Format

6 v 6 or 5 v 5 Flag Game Format

  • Field is 25 yards wide and 50 yards long, including the 5-yard end zones.
  • Games are 6 players vs 6 players or 5 players vs 5 players
  • Two 20-minute running clock halves (5-minute break at half)
  • Each possession starts at the 5-yard line after scores, turnover on downs and/or halftime
  • 30-second play clock (45-second play clock for K-2nd Grade Division)
  • The offensive team has three downs to get a first down at mid-field, then 4 downs to score once they have crossed mid-field
  • All players are eligible!
  • NO RUSHING THE QUARTERBACK, unless the QB fakes a handoff, which will trigger a defensive player to cross the LOS and rush the QB

SCORING

  • Touchdowns = 6 points
  • Extra Point (5-yard line) = 1 point
  • Extra Point (10-yard line) = 2 points
  • Safety = 2 points and the defense gets the ball
  • A safety can happen when the ball carrier’s flag is pulled in the endzone

DivisioN rules

K-2nd Grade Division Rules & Goals

  • 45-second play clock
  • Unlimited runs
  • One coach is allowed on the field for both offense and defense
  • Pass count is 5 seconds until “sack”

    In this division we want to get the players lined up properly and running in the right direction. We want to be flexible with the rules and teach the players the proper fundamentals of football.

3rd-4th Grade Division Rules & Goals

  • 30-second play clock
  • Two runs per offensive possession
  • One run allowed to gain a 1st Down (teams CAN run the ball within 5 yards of midfield)
  • One run allowed to advance towards the end zone
  • No runs 5yds or less from the end zone 
  • No runs on extra points
  • One coach is allowed on the field for both offense and defense
  • Pass count is 4 seconds until “sack”   

    In this division we want to start limiting the number of run plays and start encouraging the use of the pass play. Players should understand where to line up and how to apply basic football fundamentals.

5th - 6th Grade Division Rules & Goals

  • 30-second play clock
    • One run per offensive possession (teams CAN run the ball within 5 yards of midfield)
    • The runner CANNOT pass the ball.
    • The run is ONLY to be used as a run.
  • No runs 5yds or less from the End Zone 
  • No runs on extra points
  • No Coach allowed on the field
  • Pass count is 4 seconds until “sack” 

         In this division we want to encourage the teams to start focusing on passing the ball more than running the ball.    

7th - 8th Grade Division Rules & Goals

  • 30-second play clock
  • Defense can rush the QB one time per defensive possession
  • QB can run the ball if defense decides to rush the QB
  • No coach allowed on the field
  • Pass count is 3 seconds until “sack”       

    In this division we make the transition into an every-down is a pass play or a scaled-down version of HS 7v7 pass game. We want the players to start working on their skills as a QB, WR, and DB that they have learned from their coach and apply it in a fun, competitive format.

7th-8th Defense rushing the QB

  • 7-8 Division will allow 1 QB rush/blitz per defensive possession outside of the +5 yard line
  • The rusher must be 3 yards off the LOS.
  • There is no QB rush/blitz if the LOS is at the +5 to goal line
  • The defensive player must declare to the official that they will rush/blitz the QB.
  • When the player declares, the sack count is off.
  • When a player declares, whether rush or not, this will count as the rush. 
  • If a rusher leaves before the ball is snapped and are inside the 3 yard rush zone, they cannot rush unless they reestablish behind the 3 yards rush zone.
  • If a rusher leaves before the ball is snapped and crosses the LOS, this will be offsides on the defense, resulting in a 5 yard penalty and repeat the down.
  • The rush/blitz can come from any defensive position as long as they declare and are 3 yards off the line of scrimmage
  • The rusher has a free lane to the QB.
    • Center exception – The center mayremain stationary, but may not move to impede the rusher.
    • Impeding the rusher will result in a 5 yard penalty and loss of down.
  • There is 5-yard penalty if a player other than the declared player rushes the QB
  • The only time a QB can run the ball is if a QB rush/blitz occurs.
  • The QB can still run even if the rusher does not come.
  •  

Overall Logistic Rules

  • Coin flip determines choice of possession or direction (winning team can elect to defer to the 2nd half)
  • The clock will only stop for time-outs and injuries unless it is the last minute of the game; it does not stop for incomplete passes, out of bounds, change of possession
  • LAST 1 MINUTE OF THE GAME – The clock will stop in the final 1 minute of the game on these actions:
    • Incompletions
    • Out of bounds
    • QB sack and kneel downs
    • Change of possession
    • Penalties – If it’s an offensive penalty the clock will start on the official unless dead ball foul
    • Two 30-second timeouts per half
    • If a timeout is called after a touchdown, the clock will not start until the play after the conversion attempt
  • Teams switch sides at halftime
  • If there is a bad snap, the ball is dead and placed at the LOS – there is no loss of yardage
  • Center cannot take a handoff from the QB
  • Ball is placed where a flag pulled, not where the ball is when the flag is pulled
  • A receiver must have one foot in bounds when making a reception
  • Laterals are allowed but if the ball hits the ground, the ball is spotted at that yard mark
  • Absolutely no tackling or blocking (stationary pick is allowed but player cannot move)
  • Only one player can be in motion at the same time
  • 3 players must be on the LOS or it will result in illegal formation; the center counts as 1 player on the LOS
  • Games cannot end on a defensive penalty

Special Alert Rules

  • Defensive players can cross the line of scrimmage when a handoff, fake handoff, or backward pass has occurred.
    • This “Deception Rule” is applied to define the integrity of the LOS and development of the passing game for both offense and defense; rule applies to all divisions
  • Interceptions can be returned for a TD if intercepting team’s flag is pulled before the end zone; possession will begin where the defender is flagged

Mercy Rule

  • If a team is up by 35 or more points, they only have 2 downs to get a first down and 2 downs to score until that point difference is trimmed below 35 points, then regular game rules apply
  • The team that is behind by 35 or more points will start their offensive possession at the +10 yard line and gets 4 downs to score
  • If the point difference is trimmed below 35 pts, then regular game rules apply
  • 7-8 division – there is no defensive QB rush/blitz

Pass Game Rules

  • The Offense must throw the ball within:
    • K – 2nd Grade – 5 seconds
    • 3rd – 4th Grade – 4 seconds
    • 5th – 6th  Grade – 4 seconds
    • 7th – 8th  Grade – 3 seconds
  • Pass count sounds as follows:
    • K-2nd – ONE one-thousand, TWO one-thousand, THREE one-thousand, FOUR one-thousand, SACK!!
    • 34 and 5th-6th – ONE one-thousand, TWO one-thousand, THREE one-thousand, SACK!!
    • 7th-8th – ONE one-thousand, TWO one-thousand, SACK!!
  • The sack count starts on the snap of the ball no matter what the offensive play is attempted – the word SACK is said in place of the last number
  • Forward pass can be underhand or overhand if it is beyond the LOS
  • If the QB does not release the ball before time expires, the result of the play is a sack and the ball stays at the LOS
  • There are NO forward passes behind the LOS; will result in a 5-yard penalty and loss of down
  • NO RUSHING THE QUARTERBACK! (except in the 7-8 division; see rushing rules)
  • In grades K-6th, the QB can hand or pitch the ball off to another player and they can throw the ball within the allotted time; if/when the QB hands or pitches or throws a backward pass to another player, this alerts the defense that they can cross the LOS to pull the flag of the player with the ball
  • All grade levels have the option to throw a backward pass for a double pass play; this alerts the defense that they can cross the LOS to pull the flag of the player with the ball (7-8 can never take a hand off nor run the ball across the line of scrimmage on a backwards pass)
  • Defense must start 2 yds off the line of scrimmage unless the ball is at the +1 then the defense can start at the goal line

Snapping the Ball

  • K-2nd, 3rd-4th, and ALL girls’ divisions – the center can sidesaddle snap. 
  • If teams choose to do sidesaddle snaps, the center must snap the ball to the QB standings DIRECTLY behind the center – no trick plays can be run from the direct sidesaddle snap
  • 5th-8th– the center must snaps between the legs

Run Game Rules

  • A play will be considered a run play, when the ball carrier crosses the line of scrimmage, or if a player takes a hand-off from the quarterback and does not cross the line of scrimmage in the allotted time.
  • A play in which a player takes a hand-off from the quarterback, and then throws a forward pass will be considered a pass play, and not count as a team’s run play
  • Reminder on 3rd-4th run rules:
  • If you are going to use a run/pass Option (RPO) play with your RB, see below.
  • In all RPO offenses, when the QB gives the ball to the RB, this will alert the defense that they can cross the LOS to pull the ball carrier’s flag
  • To keep it simple – If you have not used your 1 run attempt in either zone:
    • If the QB gives the ball to the RB and the RB’s flag is pulled before crossing the LOS and before the 4 second sack count, this will be considered a pass attempt and a sack
    • If the QB gives the ball to the RB and the RB’s flag is pulled before crossing the LOS but after the 4 second sack count, this will be considered as your 1 run attempt
    • If the QB gives the ball to the RB, the RB does not have to cross the LOS before the 4 second sack count; the RB can stay behind the LOS as long as they choose but cannot pass
  • If you have used your 1 run attempt in either zone:
      • If the QB gives the ball to the RB, the RB must make a pass attempt before the 4 second sack count.
  • The play is dead when the following occurs to the ball carrier:
  • Flag is pulled
  • Runner’s knee or elbow touches the ground
  • Runner steps out of bounds
  • Runner loses his flag then the opposing team must touch him down.
  • Runner DIVES; ball is spotted where the runner left his feet.
  • Runner JUMPS; ball spotted where the runner left their feet
  • Runner LEAPS; ball spotted where the runner left their feet
  • NO direct QB runs
  • ONLY in the 7-8th grade division can the QB run the ball if he is rushed/blitzed
  • The ball carrier can spin to avoid their flag being pulled but cannot flag guard
  • No fumbles (a fumbled, or stripped ball is dead and placed at the spot of the fumble with the offensive team retaining possession)

RISE FLAG GAME PENALTIES

OFFENSE PENALTIES:

Offensive Pass Interference – 10-yard penalty and replay the down

Illegal motion (2 men in motion) – 5-yard penalty and replay the down

Illegal Formation – 5-yard penalty and replay the down

Illegal Run – 5-yard penalty and loss of down

False Start – 5-yard penalty, replay the down

Illegal Forward Pass – 5-yard penalty and loss of down (QB steps over the LOS or QB throws a forward pass behind the LOS)

Blocking – ball is placed at the spot of the foul and loss of down

Leaping – ball is placed at the spot of the foul and loss of down

Flag Guarding (including stiff arms) – 5-yard penalty from the spot of the foul and loss of down

Unsportsmanlike conduct – 15-yard penalty (possible ejection)

Delay of Game – clock is stopped and a 5-yard penalty

DEFENSIVE PENALTIES:

Defensive Pass Interference – 10-yard penalty and replay down unless it’s an offensive catch; Offense decides. 1st down can occur depending on the yardage.

Illegal Contact (holding, jams, etc.) – 5-yard penalty and replay down unless it’s an offensive catch; Offense decides. 1st can occur depending on the yardage.

Defensive Holding while pulling flag – 5-yard penalty added to the end of the play. 1st down can occur depending on the yardage.

Illegal Flag Pull (before player has ball) – 5-yard penalty and replay down. 1st down can occur depending on the yardage.
Off-sides – 5-yard penalty and replay down. 1st down can occur depending on the yardage

Illegal Rushing (before a hand-off has occurred) – 5-yard penalty and replay the down; offense decides depending on the result of the play. 1st down can occur depending on the yardage.

7-8 Defensive Illegal Rushing (if a player other than the declared player rushes the QB.)–5-yard penalty and replay the down; offense decides depending on the result of the play; 1st down can occur depending on the yardage.

Inadvertent tackle – 5-yard penalty added to the end of the play and replay down

Inadvertent tackle From Behind w/clear path to end zone – automatic touchdown

Unsportsmanlike conduct – 15-yard penalty and automatic 1st down (possible ejection)

Defensive Penalties inside the 10-yard line will result in half the distance to the goal line if applicable.

OVERTIME FORMAT - ONLY IN THE PLAYOFFS NOT THE REGULAR SEASON

  • Coin flip determines choice of overtime offensive possession
  • Possession begins at the 5-yard line (both teams will go in the same direction)
  • Offensive team will get 1 down to score from the 5 yard line
  • If a touchdown is scored, the scoring team must go for a 2-point conversion
  • An extra point cannot be returned for points; it is a dead ball play
  • If the defense intercepts the ball, it’s a change of possession unless the defense returns it for a TD
  • Game Over if intercepting team returns it for a TD on its 1st defensive possession per OT
  • Game Over if the intercepting team was ahead in points in OT prior to playing defense
  • Game Over if a team has more points than the other team, after both shared an offensive possession
  • If the game is still tied, overtime will be repeated until there is a winner
  • Teams alternate first possession each overtime period