Youth Football Tackle Rules

Modified Rules for Youth Tackle Football Programs
*Substitution Rule
All players must play one-half (1/2) of the total amount of time per game. If a player is a non-starter, he/she must start the next scheduled game. For the safety of all players, rotate substitutes frequently throughout the game. Substitutions will be made without interfering with the flow of the game. Have players ready to substitute and not running around looking for them.
Head coaches who do not carryout the substitution rule in full will be subject to disciplinary action stated in your manual. With the exception being if a child continually misses practice or never comes to practice, then coaches can decide to play or not to play the individual. However, this needs to be made clear beforehand to the players, parents, and Programs Director. The time a player is actually in the game is the amount of time he is credited for playing. Please do not play players only on kick-offs and punts.
*Scoring-Margin Rule
If the scoring margin becomes 25-points or more, the team ahead must run the ball between the tackles on every offensive play. If they fail to do so, it will result in a turnover to the other team at the line of scrimmage! The defense must stay in their base defense, for example: a 4-3, 3-4, 4-4, 5-3, etc. Please use this opportunity to play a lot of different players at different positions and try to avoid running up the score.
When weather conditions are hazardous to the participants, the Cañon City Recreation District staff is authorized to cancel, delay or suspend the game. GAMES ARE ON unless cancelled by the Recreation District! Call the office, 275-1578, check the website,, or listen to 1400 KRLN if the weather is in question. In all practices and games please be aware that we are in lightning season and if it is within five-miles or your area please look for cover and get off the field.
*Weight Limit Rule
No player over 120-lbs. will be able to carry the ball in the 5th &, 6th grade tackle league. This includes interceptions or fumbles. Players who recover a fumble or intercept a ball, must not advance the ball. The play will be blown dead when someone over 120-lbs. intercepts or recover a fumble. The official weight for each child will be the weight at check out. If they are five- pounds over or under the 120-lbs. limit they will be weighed again at the first game and the fifth game.
Players over this weight limit must play on the line on offense and line on defense. In accordance with this rule, no one weighing over 120-lbs. may be lined up in either in the offensive or the defensive backfield. No players over the weight limit may be in motion before the ball is snapped. Lineman over the weight limit may pull after the ball is snapped. Players over the limit must have a black or red X marked on the front of their helmet. This will be done at equipment checkout. If the tape falls off during the course of a game or the season it is the coaches responsibility to get it re-taped. The Field Supervisor on Saturdays will have extra tape.
In 4th Grade: the weight limit is 100-lbs., same rules apply.
5th &, 6th grade: Four, 12-minute running quarters.
Halftimes: 5-minutes, 1-minute between quarters
All teams are allowed 3-timeouts per game, 1-minute in length. Successive charged time-outs may be granted during the same dead ball period. There will be a 30-second play clock. Action or inaction that prevents promptness in legally snapping the ball in 30-seconds after the ready-for-play signal is a delay of game. Delays will not be called until later in the season. There will be a four-minute warning in the 2nd and 4th quarter of the 5th &, 6th grade tackle games.
The clock will stop after scores until the ball is snapped on the next possession, during penalties, injuries, timeouts, halftimes and in between quarters. The clock will stop according to high school rules in the final two-minutes of the game in the Adamic League if the point differential is 8-points or less.
In 4th Grade: Four, 10-minute running quarters.
Halftimes: 5-minutes, 1-minute between quarters
*Coin Toss
The team that wins the toss to start the game has four options:
1. Kick
2. Receive
3. Defend a Goal
4. Defer to the second half.
*Kick Offs
Kick offs will be a dead ball play. The ball cannot be advanced and will be spotted where the ball stops, is caught, gained control of, or goes out of bounds. If the ball goes through the end zone it will be a touchback and spotted at the 20-yard line. NO RETURNS and no onsides kicks are allowed. The ball will be kicked from the midfield line. Receiving team must line up at least ten-yards back. SAFETIES: the ball will be kicked from your own 30-yard line.
In 4th Grade: NO KICK OFFS. The ball will be placed at the 20-yard line. Following a safety the ball will be placed at midfield.
FOR BOTH LEAGUES: Before a punt is kicked, each team must declare its intent to do so. The head coach must declare, prior to the ball being marked ready-for-play, the option of kicking the ball or calling a fourth down play. If the head coach chooses to punt, both the offensive and defensive teams must stay relatively stationary. The defensive may jump and wave their arms. The offensive team must long snap the ball to the punter. The punter must kick the ball from at least 5-yards behind the line of scrimmage. There is no such thing as a fumbled snap. The punter can pick it up and kick it.
FIELDING A PUNT: A player can catch the ball in the air but cannot advance the ball from where it was caught. A punt cannot be muffed or fumbled. You can let the ball bounce and it will be placed where it stops or goes out of bounds. If the ball is punted into end zone it will be a touchback. If the ball is dropped in the end zone, it is a touchback. No more than three- players may be back to receive the punt.
*Extra Points
The ball can be run into the end zone from the two-yard line for one-point or passed for two-points. It can also be kicked for two-points. It is a free kick, similar to a punt. It is an untimed play and can be run with no time on the clock. A bad snap can be retrieved and set down to kick with no rush.
In 4th Grade: No kicks
*Field Goals
Same as an Extra Point Attempt. No rush allowed. The ball is dead when snapped. If the kick is missed, ball is placed at original line of scrimmage except if the line of scrimmage was inside the 20, then the ball is placed on the 20.
In 4th Grade: No Field Goals
5th and 6th grade league will play 11-man football. Offensive sets must have a minimum of 7 players on the line of scrimmage. The offense must play 5 interior lineman, a center, two guards and two tackles, but may use balanced or unbalanced lines. The interior lineman must all be in a three-point stance. Offensive ends can flex out up to 10 yards from the ball, if there is no receiver outside of him. Offensive backs must line up at least one yard behind the line of scrimmage. The offensive line may use two-yard splits if the point differential is above 25-points.
In 4th Grade: 8-man football is played in which 4- players are required on the line of scrimmage.
There may be no more than 5 defensive linemen on any given play. The defensive linemen must line up head up (helmet to helmet) on the center and two guards, but the ends may shade the outside shoulder of the tackle or tight end at the end of the line. You may not be any further out than the shoulder. There is no bull rushing the center. All other defensive players must begin the play at least 3 yards off the ball.
The play-side outside linebacker is allowed to set the perimeter on an option run or pass and may cross the line of scrimmage. Only the play-side outside linebacker may set the perimeter, if the linebacker on the opposite side comes and it is a pass then the officials will call an illegal blitz. If the quarterback does a straight drop back pass or play action and drops straight back the outside linebackers may not cross the line of scrimmage or it will be called an illegal blitz.
In 4th Grade: the defense must line up in a 3 or 4 man front and be head up of the offensive line, however the ends may shade the outside shoulder of the of the tackle or tight end at the end of the line.
The only defensive players allowed to rush the quarterback are the down linemen. They must be lined up on the line of scrimmage and there may be no more than 5 down defensive lineman on any given play. All players intending to rush the quarterback must be in a 3 or 4-point stance when the ball is snapped. If the quarterback drops back to pass and remains inside the pocket, which is defined as in between the tackles, then the only defensive players allowed to cross the line of scrimmage are the down defensive lineman and no more than five. Once the quarterback leaves the pocket, he is treated like a runner and the defense is allowed to pursue. The play-side outside linebacker is allowed to set the perimeter on an option run or pass and may cross the line of scrimmage. Only the play-side outside linebacker may set the perimeter, if the linebacker on the opposite side comes and it is a pass then the officials will call an illegal blitz. If any blitzing occurs there will be a 10-yard penalty. Warnings will be given prior to penalty being called. Defensive lineman are allowed to stunt, but they must be in a 3-point stance prior to stunting. There is still no blitzing allowed.
In 4th Grade: no more than 4-lineman may rush the QB. There is no stunting or blitzing.
Please have a parent orientation meeting before the season starts. Introduce yourself, go over rules, schedules, etc. An open line of communication will ease the process for both coach and parents.
One Coach will be allowed on the field to orient their players during the first game only of the 5th &, 6th grade league. However they must not interfere with play. Coaches may not yell instructions to their players after the ball is snapped. First offense will be a major penalty. Second Offense will bar the coach from being on the field for the remainder of the game.
In 4th Grade: one coach is allowed on the field from each team for the entire season. However they must never interfere with play.
Only four-coaches in 5th and 6th grade and three-coaches in 4th grade and the registered players are allowed on the team sideline, which is the west side at Rouse Park. All parents, family and spectators are to remain on the opposite sideline.
In 4th Grade: the team sideline is the East side of the field at Rouse Park.
Home team must supply the chain gang if it is not supplied for your game. Chain gang must follow same sportsmanship rules as coaches and are subject to the same policies.
Coaches must remain inside their coaches\' box. Each box extends from one goal line to the opposite 40. Coaches must remain inside of their box and not cross over the opposite 40!
In 4th Grade: the coaches' box is from the goal line to midfield.
DO NOT let the players practice in their game jerseys.
NO other stickers on the helmets other than that provided by the District for sponsors.
One overtime period will be played. After the Coin Toss the ball is placed at the ten-yard line and a set of 4 downs is started. Each team gets one opportunity on offense. Games can end in a tie! The exception is the TOY BOWL in which multiple overtimes will be played until there is a winner. Each team has 1 timeout in OT, no carryovers.
In 4th Grade: no overtime
*Types of Penalties (there are only 5 and 10 yard penalties, no 15)