ST EPHREM FLAG FOOTBALL

RULES OF PLAY

Revised: June 2022

 

A coin toss determines the first possession of the game, the team that wins the toss will choose to receive the ball to start either the first half, or second half.  The opposing team will be awarded the first possession of the half not chosen by the coin toss winner. The team that does not receive possession will choose the goal that the wish to defend.

 

There will be two 20 minute halves with a running clock with the following two exceptions:

 

Exception 1 – Change of Possession:  When a team elects to turn the ball over on downs, the play clock will stop. This is an official time stoppage  so they may reset the field at the opposing teams 7 yard line.  Once the officials promptly move all markers and spot the ball. Both the time and play clocks will be started.  

 

Exception 2 : The clock will stop in the final two minutes of each half 

whenever there is an incomplete pass, whenever the ball carrier goes out of bounds, whenever there is a penalty called, during PAT attempts and during change of possession.

 

There will be 7 players on the field from each team at any time, if either team cannot field a full squad the game can be played with 6 or 5 players. Both teams must have the same number of players on the field.  All players in attendance MUST play at least ½ of all of the plays. Team rosters will be collected at the start of each game during the regular season to determine player eligibility for the playoffs*. If a team cannot field at least 5 players an attempt will be made to reschedule.  If both teams, and the league, can not agree on an acceptable rescheduling time, the team that could not originally field at least 5 players will forfeit the game and the other team be given the win.  If both teams can not field at least 5 players and a make up time cannot be mutually agreed to, the game will be declared a tie.   

 

The offensive team takes possession of the ball on its own 7-yard line and has 4 downs to either score a touchdown, or to reach midfield.  If the offense reaches midfield the next play is considered a new 1st down and they will be allowed to attempt up to 4 downs to score a touchdown.  If the offensive team fails to score a touchdown, or make a first down, the opposing team will take over possession at the spot of the last play’s termination.  

 

Before any snap, the offensive team can elect to voluntarily turn the ball over to the opposing team at the defensive team’s 7-yard line.  

 

A Touchdown will score 6 points; a Point After Touchdown (PAT) will be scored 2 points (or 1 point depending on the division and position the PAT is attempted from); a Safety will be scored 2 points.      

 

In the Novice Division, after a touchdown is scored, the scoring team will attempt a 2 point PAT from the defensive 7 yard line.  In the Bantam Division, the scoring team will have the option of attempting a PAT from either the 3½ yard line, or the 10½ yard line.  A successful 3½ yard attempt will score 1 point.  A successful 10½ yard attempt will score 2 points.  The same rules of play will apply as for any offensive play.  

An intercepted PAT attempt can be advanced, and if the play results in a score it will count the number of points of the original attempt. 

 

Regardless of the outcome of the PAT attempt, following a touchdown the opposing team will take possession on its own 7-yard line.  

 

After a safety is scored, the team that scored is awarded the ball at its own 7-yard line.

 

Each team will be allowed three 20-second timeouts per half.

 

If the scores of both teams are the same at the end of the second half of play, an additional 20 minutes overtime period will be played (overtime).  All of the rules of play will remain the same, with the exception that the game will end when either team scores in any way; the scoring team will be declared the winner of the game (sudden death).  During the regular season, if neither team scores any points in the allotted 20 minutes, the game will be declared a tie.  During the playoffs, the teams will play successive 20 minute overtime periods until there is a winner.  These overtimes will always be in the “sudden death” format.  Each overtime period will begin with a coin toss. The visiting team will own the call of coin toss in overtime. 

 

Offensive teams will be given up to 30 seconds from when the ball is spotted to start its next play.  A warning will be announced when 10 seconds remain on the “play clock”.  Coaches may enter the huddle to call a play, but must make an effort to head to the sidelines before the ball is snapped.  Coaches that fail to head to the sidelines will be given a first warning and then receive a penalty for having too many players on the field.. (Bantam & Novice Only).  Coaches may not enter huddles on defense.

 

The defense cannot rush until the referee has counted to 5, except when the ball is handed off, lateralled or pitched.

 

Play begins, along with 5 count, when the Center moves the ball off of the ground.  The Center must pass the ball to another player behind the line of scrimmage, this can be done in any manner that he/she chooses, it does not have to be snapped between the legs

 

The player receiving the ball from Center cannot run past scrimmage without first giving up the ball, and then getting it back (Illegal Run).

 

Offensive players must be set (cannot move) for at least 1 second prior to the start of the play (Illegal Motion).  One player is allowed to go in motion prior to the snap of the ball.  Motion must be lateral to, or away from, the line of scrimmage, not forward (Illegal Motion).

  

Only 1 forward pass is allowed per play.  A forward pass is any movement of the ball in the direction of the opposing team’s goal line that leaves the hand of the thrower.  A legal forward pass must originate from behind the line of scrimmage.  A forward pitch or lateral is considered a forward pass.    

 

All players are eligible receivers.

 

A player must have at least one (first) foot in bounds for a pass reception to be complete. 

 

On all pass attempts, both offensive and defensive players have equal right to the ball; neither can obscure the other's view or path to the ball without making a play on the ball themselves, players must play the ball, not the opponent!  (Pass Interference). 

 

Interceptions can be advanced.

 

The player receiving a hand off must be beside or behind the player giving him/her the ball.  Forward hand offs are not permitted (Illegal Touching).  Touching the ball, but not taking a hand off, is not allowed (Illegal Touching). 

 

If a player should not have his/her flags in the proper location, or if a player should not have both of his/her flags attached, the play will be considered over and the ball dead at the spot that that player gains possession of the ball.

 

Play will stop and the ball ruled dead when the:

Ball carrier’s flag is pulled or falls out, or are not aligned properly on either hip

Ball carrier steps on or over the sidelines

Ball carrier touches the ground with any part of his body except the feet or hands 

Ball touches the ground

 

Placing the hands or arms over the flags to hamper the other team's ability to grasp the flags, is NOT allowed (Flag Guarding).

 

There will be NO blocking, intentional picks or tackling (Illegal Contact). 

 

It is the responsibility of the offensive player to attempt to avoid the defensive player.  Failure to do so will be a “charging penalty”.  Blatant disregard of this rule will be considered “Unsportsmanlike Conduct”.    

 

There will be no leaping or diving to avoid defenders or to enter the endzone.

 

A player that goes out of bounds cannot be the first player to come into contact with the ball after his/her return (Illegal Touching).

 

The defense cannot push or in any other physical way force an offensive player out of bounds (Illegal contact). 

 

Once possession is established, there can be no attempt to strip the ball loose (Illegal Contact).

 

A player cannot hold, or in any other way restrain another player, in their attempt to pull a flag (Illegal Contact).

 

 All players must have their jersey tucked into their pants at all times. Their flag belts must be neatly tucked; no loose ends. 

It is each player’s responsibility to maintain his/her flags in the proper location for each play. Players can not wear pants/shorts that closely match the color of their flags (Improper Attire).

 

If a team is called for more than 1 delay of game penalty, and the head referee determines that that team is purposely stalling, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty can also be called.  This will result in a total loss of 15 yards and the loss of a down.  

 

Games cannot end on an accepted defensive penalty

 

Penalties

 

Defensive Offside: 5 yards, replay down.

Defensive Pass Interference: Offensive possession at point of penalty, 

first down if play originated on opposite side of midfield, replay down if play originated on same side of midfield.  If penalty occurs in the end zone the ball will be spotted on the 1 yard line.

Defensive Illegal Contact:10 yards & replay down if play resulted in a loss or no gain, 10 yards from end of play if play resulted in a gain.

Offensive Charging: 10 yards from spot of foul & loss of down.

Offensive Pass Interference: 10 yards & loss of down.

 

Offensive Illegal Contact: 10 yards & loss of down.

Illegal Motion: 5 yards, play stops, replay down.

Illegal Forward Pass: 5 yards & loss of down.

Illegal Run: 5 yards & loss of down.

Flag Guarding:10 yards from spot of foul & loss of down.

Delay of Game: 5 yards, replay down.

Grounding: 10 yards & loss of down.

Leaping/Diving: 10 yards from spot of foul & loss of down.

Improper Attire:  5 yards, replay down (after 1 team warning).

 

Improper Flag Placement: Ball dead at spot of reception.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct 10 yards & loss of down (player/coach ejected on 2nd game infraction).

Illegal Touching:    5 yards & loss of down.

Too Many on Field: 5 yards & replay down.

 

Rule clarification can be directed to the attending Flag Football administrator; his decisions are final and non reviewable.

 

* New Rule for 2022 Season