High School Football Rules Misconceptions - 2020 Version (originally posted in 2019)

zebrastripes

Active member
I thought I had made a thread like this in previous years but I guess with the software update it disappeared.

  • No such thing as "offside" in NFHS and there is no provision allowing the defense to "get back." Encroachment is dead-ball foul as soon as either team enters the neutral zone.
  • A "catchable" ball is not a factor of the pass interference rules.
  • There is no "tackle box" for intentional grounding purposes. A QB must always throw a forward pass in the vicinity of an eligible receiver.
  • An unsuccessful field goal does not go back to the previous spot. It is treated just like a punt (touchback if it crosses the goal line).
  • Any kick that crosses the goal line is an automatic touchback. A kick is a kick until it is possessed. So if a muffed kick crosses the goal line, it's a touchback.
  • A blocked extra point is dead immediately; an intercepted two-point try is dead immediately.
  • In OHSAA overtime the ball is dead immediately when the defense gains possession.
  • There is no previous spot enforcement for fouls by the offense behind the line of scrimmage. For example, holding by a lineman behind the LOS is generally enforced from the spot of the foul, not the previous spot. Yes, that means holding is often a more severe penalty in high school than NCAA or NFL.
  • The holder for a field goal cannot pitch the ball from his knee on a fake. He must rise or else the ball is dead.
  • The only fouls that include automatic first downs are the "roughing" personal fouls - passer, kicker/holder, and snapper.
  • Fouls by the defense during a successful field goal, try, or touchdown-scoring play are not declined by rule. The offense can have the penalty enforced on the try (for a foul during a TD play) or the kickoff.
  • Hurdling is a foul. But only if the player being hurdled is contacting the ground with no part of his body other than one or both feet.
  • Personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct fouls are not the same thing. PFs involve contact and two by one player does not require a DQ. UNS is always noncontact and two by one player results in a DQ.
  • Targeting only includes above-shoulder contact and does not result in DQ unless deemed flagrant. Contact initiated with the crown of the helmet at or below the shoulders is spearing.
  • Headhunting is not football.
  • Most "big hits" and athletic plays (i.e. runners hurdling defenders) that are sensationalized on accounts like Jukes are illegal.
Anyone have anymore? Have a great, fun, and SAFE season.
 
Last edited:

zebrastripes

Active member
The holder of the field goal must rise isn’t enforced very often
I haven't seen that many fakes in HS but when I have seen them they've been officiated correctly. I've called a game where we killed a fake when the holder stayed down and pitched it.

Obviously we want to be 110% sure the holder had a knee down before killing the play.
 

Auggie

Well-known member
  • An unsuccessful field goal does not go back to the previous spot. It is treated just like a punt (touchback if it crosses the goal line).
This rule needs to be adjusted. I have started to see some coaches go for FG at a distance the kicker had no chance of making, 50 yards plus, so that they can place the ball at the 20, that way they didn't have to worry about a punt being blocked or a possible run back. Yeah they did have to cross the goal line but with a tee and the way HS kickers are these days it is a way to circumvent a rule.
 

davis5305

Member
One that will be seen early in the season is that there is no time allotted for subs in the :40 playclock. Once the :40 is running and the ball is set by the U, it is eligible to be snapped.

If the offense snaps and the defense is still running subs on or off, there will be a substitution penalty on the defense.
 

davis5305

Member
  • An unsuccessful field goal does not go back to the previous spot. It is treated just like a punt (touchback if it crosses the goal line).
This rule needs to be adjusted. I have started to see some coaches go for FG at a distance the kicker had no chance of making, 50 yards plus, so that they can place the ball at the 20, that way they didn't have to worry about a punt being blocked or a possible run back. Yeah they did have to cross the goal line but with a tee and the way HS kickers are these days it is a way to circumvent a rule.
Isn't there just as much risk of having a 50 yd field goal attempt blocked as there is a punt? If you are going to change the rules for a field goal, do you also disallow the shotgun punts that some teams are running? Same concept.
 

Warrior78

Proud Dad of a US Marine
Isn't there just as much risk of having a 50 yd field goal attempt blocked as there is a punt? If you are going to change the rules for a field goal, do you also disallow the shotgun punts that some teams are running? Same concept.
Not if you give yourself a couple of extra yards to avoid the block.
 

zebrastripes

Active member
One that will be seen early in the season is that there is no time allotted for subs in the :40 playclock. Once the :40 is running and the ball is set by the U, it is eligible to be snapped.

If the offense snaps and the defense is still running subs on or off, there will be a substitution penalty on the defense.
Good point, I forgot about this one. There will be plenty of perturbed fans and coaches who believe the defense gets time to matchup.
 

zebrastripes

Active member
If the offensive team makes a substitution, is the defense then allowed the opportunity to sub as well?
No. That was @davis5305 's point. The NCAA/NFL rule about holding the snap when the offense subs so the defense can match up does not apply to NFHS.

When the 40-second play clock is in effect and the ball is placed on the ground, it may be snapped.
 

davis5305

Member
I am making sure I cover this with all of my coaches in scrimmages. There WILL be teams that attempt to take advantage of this in the first few weeks. Trying to get the cheap 5 yards.
 

mcm.1019

Active member
No. That was @davis5305 's point. The NCAA/NFL rule about holding the snap when the offense subs so the defense can match up does not apply to NFHS.

When the 40-second play clock is in effect and the ball is placed on the ground, it may be snapped.
Thanks, I just wanted to clarify it as he didn't mention whether or not the offensive team substituted.
 

jmog

Well-known member
Not if you give yourself a couple of extra yards to avoid the block.
Even a "couple extra yards" is still a shorter distance to the LOS than a punter is. This logic confuses me. Now, a kicker from the ground maybe able to kick if further than a punter on a given team, and maybe that's the reason they do this, but "might be blocked" doesn't make sense.
 

Yappi

Go Buckeyes
  • An unsuccessful field goal does not go back to the previous spot. It is treated just like a punt (touchback if it crosses the goal line).
This rule needs to be adjusted. I have started to see some coaches go for FG at a distance the kicker had no chance of making, 50 yards plus, so that they can place the ball at the 20, that way they didn't have to worry about a punt being blocked or a possible run back. Yeah they did have to cross the goal line but with a tee and the way HS kickers are these days it is a way to circumvent a rule.
Smart teams can take advantage of this play. Unlike a punt formation, the kicking team is not usually in good position to defend the return. If someone is trying a long FG, defend it to prevent the fake and setup a return. Could be big yardage.
 

Zunardo

Well-known member
No such thing as "offside" in NFHS
Sorry, it's already ingrained in me that when I see an RB jump before the snap, I will immediately scream "Offsides!". Old habits from playing 2-hand touch in the street 50-some years ago die hard.

It didn't help that Jerry Kramer wrote in "Instant Replay" (1968), ".. and once I jumped offsides, a real dumb-asz play". :cool:

Otherwise, this is a very helpful list for armchair fans like myself, and I plan to review frequently. Thanks.
 

MSL

Active member
A smart kicking team trying a near-impossible field goal could try to down the ball in the opponent's red zone just like a punt. The problem with this is it requires that a return man not be in position. You would think most coaches would put someone back there, but at the high school level it could happen.
 

zebrastripes

Active member
Sorry, it's already ingrained in me that when I see an RB jump before the snap, I will immediately scream "Offsides!". Old habits from playing 2-hand touch in the street 50-some years ago die hard.

It didn't help that Jerry Kramer wrote in "Instant Replay" (1968), ".. and once I jumped offsides, a real dumb-asz play". :cool:

Otherwise, this is a very helpful list for armchair fans like myself, and I plan to review frequently. Thanks.
Officials are some of the worst offenders. I've seen multiple HS games where a referee with a microphone announced the foul as "offside."

It's a losing battle. 😔
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Did they change anything about the inadvertent whistle or is from where the play was at the onset of the play?

I thought I heard they were changing that.
 

davis5305

Member
So what is the ruling? I am referring back to a play in 1998 actually.

What is the ruling on an inadvertent whistle?
Going to need more information to rule on an IW. Who had the ball? Was there a change of possession? Ultimately the options belong to the team who has possession at the time of the IW.
 

innoshape

Active member
  • An unsuccessful field goal does not go back to the previous spot. It is treated just like a punt (touchback if it crosses the goal line).
So if it does NOT cross the goal line it is a "live" ball that can be returned?
 

zebrastripes

Active member
  • An unsuccessful field goal does not go back to the previous spot. It is treated just like a punt (touchback if it crosses the goal line).
So if it does NOT cross the goal line it is a "live" ball that can be returned?
Absolutely. It could even be "downed" by the Team K before it crosses the goal line, and that's where Team R would start its series.

A field goal is a scrimmage kick (i.e. punt) in every aspect other than the formation and the ability to score points.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Going to need more information to rule on an IW. Who had the ball? Was there a change of possession? Ultimately the options belong to the team who has possession at the time of the IW.
Going to need more information to rule on an IW. Who had the ball? Was there a change of possession? Ultimately the options belong to the team who has possession at the time of the IW.
Team A attempts a FG.
Team B blocks FG.
Team B possesses the ball and starts returning the ball for a TD. The IW was after Team B was returning the ball.

What should have been called?

The officials decided to do a redo. Team A decides to go for it (end of the first half) instead of trying another FG and scores a TD. So at the end of the day it was a 14 point turn around (assuming Team B makes their EP ) because no one was catching the guy returing the FG down the sideline.
 

clarkgriswold

Well-known member
Uncatchable ball has always been my favorite due in large part to the huge number of dimwit fans that regularly scream it out.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
A lot of differences in pass interference.....

**No 5 yard rule for pass inteferance
**All plays are considered runs until a pass is thrown,
***A defensive player must avoid contact with a receiver who is no longer a potential blocker. So a
receiver is a potential blocker until there is a pass. A defender can contact an offensive receiver
until the ball is thrown.
***PI is only a penalty in the area the ball is thrown.
 

Sykotyk

Well-known member
No doubt however I have seen officials hold the flag instead of throwing it. It's not officiated consistently the same way.
That and grounding. Two biggest ones I notice fans scream about all the time. Very annoying. It's not NFL rules, people....
 

dograt

Active member
A smart kicking team trying a near-impossible field goal could try to down the ball in the opponent's red zone just like a punt. The problem with this is it requires that a return man not be in position. You would think most coaches would put someone back there, but at the high school level it could happen.
the big advantage really is kicking it out of bounds. placekickers are much more accurate than punters. from midfield everyone should probably kick a fieldgoal out of bounds rather than punt.
 
.
Top