4th - 7th Grade Flag Football Rules
Philosophy Statement: The purpose of 4th - 7th Grade Flag Football is to offer an additional avenue for athletes to continue to learn the game and unique skills of football, in a non-contact environment. The athletes should have fun, play hard and walk away from every game knowing they contributed somehow to the game. This means that every participant should play on both offense and defense and either have carried the ball or had one or two passes thrown in their direction. Getting every athlete involved will take a concerted effort and take precedence over winning.
The Team: The team will consist of approximately 6-8 players, but this is subject to change based on player and coach registrations. There will be 5 defensive players and 5 offensive players during each scrimmage play. The quarterback cannot run the ball past the line of scrimmage (LOS), however, following a hand-off or pitch to another teammate the quarterback does become an eligible receiver.
Defensive Guidelines: A defensive player will either be a linebacker or a defensive back. Linebackers and defensive backs will be positioned behind the line of scrimmage (LOS). The defensive team may have ONE (1) player designated to rush the quarterback. That player may NOT be within 7 yards of the ball at the time of the snap. This 7 yard zone will be established by the official prior to each down by dropping a flag/marker. The player rushing the quarterback must start BEHIND the flag/marker and be within one (1) step of either side of the flag/marker. If the defensive player is inside the 7 yards at the time of the snap or is more than one step from the flag/marker, the penalty will be offsides and the offensive team can take the result of the play or a 5 yard penalty and replay the down.
A defensive player cannot cross the LOS (one exception is the designated pass rusher) until a pass has been attempted (ball in the air) or a hand-off has been attempted. Defenses must be man-to-man, except that the safety standing at the flag/marker may play zone if desired.
It is illegal for a defensive player to strip or take the ball away from the offense.
Interceptions may be returned for touchdowns. Fumbles are dead at the spot when they touch the ground. If a hand-off is fumbled up into the air and caught, however, it may be returned for a touchdown. Under no circumstances is there to be any down field blocking to help aid a defensive player returning a ball.
Offensive Guidelines: The offensive makeup is: 1 Quarterback (QB) and 4 eligible receivers that may be Running Backs (RB) or Receivers (WR). The WRs must be on the LOS. The offense may have one (1) RB in the backfield, but the RB must be positioned directly behind the QB. Motion is NOT allowed. The offense should have a balanced formation with the only exception being when a RB is in the backfield.
The ball is put into play by the head official handing or tossing the ball to the QB. The QB has seven (7) seconds to hand off or throw the ball. If the ball is still in the hands of the QB after 7 seconds, the play ends, there will be a loss of down and a penalty of 5 yards, and the play is considered a run.
One running play is allowed, but not required, every four downs. A running play requires either a hand-off or a lateral (pitch). If the QB is sacked behind the LOS, receives a pass from a RB but does not make it past the LOS, or a RB receives a pitch/toss/screen to throw but has his/her flag pulled prior to throwing and is behind the LOS, it will count as a run play for the offensive team. If the offensive team has already used its run within the four down restriction, then the offensive team will lose a down and be penalized 5 yards.
A pass must be forward and beyond the LOS. It is considered forward if it moves forward from the QB's position and past the LOS. All passes must be overhand. No underhand or shuffle passes are allowed. The QB cannot run the ball beyond the LOS but is eligible for a pass after a hand off or toss.
No flag guarding, stiff arming or jumping over a tackler is allowed. Absolutely no running over (bulling over) a defensive player (this is a 10 yard penalty and loss of down). Absolutely NO down field blocking or contact can be created by the offensive players. Offensive players are allowed to move down field with the ball carrier and shield or screen defensive players, but they CANNOT create or initiate contact. (10 yard spot foul penalty). With all other infractions, the ball becomes dead at the point of penalty.
General Guidelines: Field is 70 yards long.
Quarters will be 12 minute continuous clock and the game will consist of 4 quarters.
No player can advance a fumble that has hit the ground. Ball is dead upon hitting the ground, assuming no yard advantage is gained.
There are no punts. The offensive team has 4 downs to pick up 10 yards for a new set of downs, if they do not, it will be ruled a turnover on downs and the ball is placed at the opponent’s 10 yard line.
There are no kickoffs. The ball will be put into play on the 10-yard line after every possession. The only time a new possession does not start at a team's 10-yard line is following an interception.
Touchdowns are 6 points. A passing PAT is worth 2 points while a running PAT is worth only 1 point. Running for a PAT does NOT count as a normal running play. You can always run for a PAT regardless of whether you scored on a running play.
All players must have their jerseys tucked in with flag belts visible and flags located directly on the player’s hips. A violation of this rule is considered illegal procedure and a five (5) yard penalty.
Two coaches may now be on the field at once (own side of the ball) to huddle players and call plays. No coaching or instructing players after the play has started. The on-field coach(es) must be five (5) yards behind the deepest player.
It is not mandatory to have preset plays but is recommended. This speeds up the game as well as gives more opportunities for additional plays.
Coaches are allowed 2 time outs per game.
If the ball is intercepted on a PAT (point after touchdown), which may be a run or pass, the ball is dead and the attempt is over. This may NOT be returned for any points (Federation - High School Rule).
Only ONE legal forward pass (legal being behind the line of scrimmage and forward in direction) may be attempted during a down.