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Kid's Flag Football Rules

Kid’s Flag Football Rules


Hopewell Recreation Ministry Leadership reserves the right to make any changes that they deem necessary for the betterment of the league and its play.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

No coach or player shall belittle or berate the players, coaches or fans of another team. This type of action will NOT be tolerated. First offense: Warning. Second offense: Ejection from game. PENALTY: Any coach or player ejected from a game will be suspended for a minimum of 1 game up to a maximum of the remainder of the season. Any coach ejected from a game will be required to meet in person with the Hopewell Recreation Minister before coaching another game. The coach is responsible to set up this meeting.

Coordinators & Referees may issue warnings to players, coaches or teams for team and personal unsportsmanlike conduct or safety concerns.

Harassment of officials and Hopewell Recreation Ministry Staff will not be tolerated. Questions should be asked by the HEAD COACH ONLY and done in an ORDERLY HUMANE and RESPECTFUL fashion about rule interpretations only. Judgment calls are NOT to be argued. Failure to comply with this rule will result in immediate ejection of the guilty party and possibly forfeiture of the game. NO WARNINGS WILL BE GIVEN!!

Judgment calls made by the referee shall NOT be contested.

There will be paid refs for each game.




A. Divisions

Play is open to boys and girls of ages 5 through 15, who are

organized into four divisions:

• 5 and 6-year olds

• 7 - 9 -year olds

• 10 - 11-year olds

• 12 - 15-year olds

The League may adjust the division demarcations, or the date used for age

determination at any time.


The field is 25 yards wide, 54 yards long and is divided

lengthwise into four zones of 10 yards each, which lie between two end zones of 7 yards each. The field also includes extra point markings at 3 and 6 paces from each end zone.


A. Uniforms

The uniform consists of:

• Shorts or pants with no pockets

• Shoes

• A protective mouth guard

• A flag belt

Mouthpieces are recommended but not required.

Uniforms are subject to the following restrictions:

• Jerseys must be tucked in at all times.

• Footwear must be sneakers or cleated shoes with no exposed metal parts.

• Flag belts must be of the type provided by the League

• Flag belts must remain snug and unimpeded by clothing at all times.

• Flag belts must be in good condition and have two unaltered streamers attached.

• Flags must be worn on the sides and must be pointing outward.

B. Game Ball

The game ball shall be a conventional football constructed of leather, rubber, or similar

material. The ball must be inflatable and have seams.

The allowable sizes vary by age group:

5 and 6-year olds: PeeWee

7 - 9-year olds: PeeWee

10 - 11-year olds: Junior

12 - 15-year olds: Youth

C. Prohibited Equipment

• Shorts or pants with pockets, belt loops, belts, or exposed draw strings

• Shoes with exposed metal

• Padding of any kind, including hard surface padding such as shoulder pads, hip pads, or helmets

• Any hard substance on a player’s clothing or person

• Hard casts, even if covered by soft material

• Sticky substances such as grease or glue on a player’s clothing or person

• Jewelry of any kind, except for medical alert bracelets

• Barrettes or other hard objects worn on the head

• Eye glasses, unless of athletically approved construction and containing shatterproof lenses

• Anything that the official feels could endanger or confuse players


A. Game Timing and Flow

• A game consists of two halves, each of 20 minutes in duration, separated by a two-minute halftime period for ages 7 and up. A game consists of two halves, each of 16 minutes in duration, separated by a two-minute halftime period for ages 5 and 6.

• The game clock runs continually, except:

• The last 2 minutes of the 1st half and the last 2 minutes of the 2nd half.

• When an injury occurs

• During a timeout

• When an official deems it appropriate to stop the clock

Each team is entitled to one timeout per half, each of which lasts for 30 seconds.

The offense must put the ball in play within 30 seconds of the “ready for play” whistle.

A coin toss determines which team takes first possession of the ball. The winner of the toss has the option to begin on offense or defense. 

The team that begins on offense in the first half will begin on defense in the second half.

The team that begins on defense is allowed to choose which goal to defend.

Teams switch directions at the beginning of the second half.

B. Playing Time

It is the goal of the League to provide every child the opportunity to develop as an athlete. With this in mind, it is required that all players receive at least one half playing

time during each game and that each player be actively utilized. Coaches are required to abide by the spirit of this rule.

C. Number of Players

Play shall be five on five or seven on seven depending on the number of players on a team. In the event that only four players are present for a given team, they shall be allowed to play with four. Out of sportsmanship the opposing team will also play with 4 players.

D. Player Substitutions

Players may be freely substituted after any dead ball.

E. Location of Coaches

5 - 6: One coach per team are allowed on the field to instruct players. The coaches must move at least 15 yards away before the ball is snapped. Coaches on the field must

remain on his/her team’s side of the line of scrimmage.

7-9,10-12 and 13 - 15: Coaches are not allowed on the field during play. Coaches can participate in the huddle, but must move to the sideline before play starts. Players may also choose to huddle at the sideline before each play. In all cases, it is the responsibility of the coach to avoid interfering with play. Officials may take appropriate action, including issuing a warning, re-playing a down, imposing penalties, or removing a coach from the field, if he/she believes the coaches’ presence has interfered with play.

Also, coaches are not allowed to make contact with their own players during the course of a play (ie, giving them a nudge in the right direction). This will be considered coach’s interference, and will be penalized.

F. Offense Snapping the Ball

The center must snap the ball between the legs and must release the ball to the quarterback for a legal play to begin unless the center and quarterback are of opposite genders. Then the center will turn to the side to snap the ball. Shotgun snaps are allowed but not required. Prior to the snap, the ball must be resting on the ground.

Handoffs to the center are not allowed.

If the ball hits the ground on a snap, the play is called dead, and the ball is spotted at the point where it hit the ground -- except in the 5-6 year old division. In the 5-6 and  in the event of a bad snap, teams will be given a second chance to snap the ball successfully. The re-try must take place immediately -- no huddle or other meeting is allowed. If the second attempt results in a bad snap, then the ball will be marked dead at the spot where it hit the ground.

Number of Downs

Each team will have four downs to advance the ball across the first down marker or into the opposing end zone. After a team crosses the first down marker, it receives four

more downs in which to score or advance to the next first down marker.

Ball Position

The location of the runner’s hips (not the ball) at the end of the play determines where the ball is to be spotted.


The player who receives the snap (the quarterback) may not run the ball beyond the line of scrimmage until it has been given to another player or the defensive team blitzes. After the ball has been handed off to another player, then this restriction no longer applies; the quarterback becomes eligible to run, pass, or receive the ball. The hand-off may occur in front of or behind the ball carrier -- the player receiving the hand-off is eligible to pass as long as they have not crossed the line of scrimmage.

The offensive team may run the ball after performing a valid hand-off, so long as the line of scrimmage is not located within a no-running zone. The offensive team may not hand the ball off to the center.

Spin moves are allowed.

If the ball carrier’s hand touches the ground, play will continue. If the ball carrier’s elbow or knee touches the ground, the play will be whistled dead at the spot where they touched the ground.

It is the ball carrier’s responsibility to avoid colliding with defenders that lie in his/her path. Unintentional contact shall not be penalized, provided the ball carrier makes an

effort to avoid it. Failure to attempt to avoid contact with a defender (charging) will be penalized, even if it does not result in a collision. Intentional contact will not be

tolerated, and may also result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and/or player ejection.

Once the ball carrier crosses the line of scrimmage, his/her teammates must stop running. Any offensive player who continues running and impedes the progress of a

defensive player who is attempting to pull the ball carrier’s flag will be called for illegal blocking.


• Ball carriers are prohibited from using hands, arms, or the ball to impede access to the flag belt.

• If the ball carrier impedes access to the flag belt, even if it is in his/her “natural running motion”, a flag guarding penalty shall be assessed.

• The ball carrier shall not lower his/her head to charge or run into a defensive player.

• No intentional contact of any kind is allowed. This includes charging or running directly into a defensive player or stiff-arming.

• The ball carrier is not allowed to dive. If he/she dives into the end zone, it is not a score; a diving penalty shall be imposed from the goal line.

No-Running Zones

There are three pace no-running zones at each end zone. When the line of scrimmage lies within one of these zones, no running plays are allowed. This means that the offense must attempt a forward pass beyond the line of scrimmage. Handoffs are allowed, but must lead to a pass attempt. The one-point extra point line is the no-running zone.

No running zones do not apply in the 5 to 6 year old age group.


Handoffs may occur only behind the line of scrimmage. There is no limit on the number of handoffs that may occur during a given play. Handoffs may be forward or backward and do not limit the offense’s option to throw a subsequent forward pass.

Handoffs may not occur after a completed forward pass.

Special Cases: Running Eligibility After Multiple Handoffs

In order for a handoff to be considered legal, the player with original possession of the ball (Player A) must completely relinquish control of the ball to another player (Player B).

By completely relinquishing control of the ball, it is meant that Player A would not have any contact with the ball whatsoever after handing the ball to Player B. Therefore, in

order for Player A to gain the ability to run the football, he or she would have to hand the ball to Player B, clearly ceasing all contact with the ball, and then Player B could hand the ball back to Player A, giving Player A the ability to run.

The act of placing the ball on the center’s back and retrieving it is not considered a legal handoff.

Seven Second Rule

After the ball is snapped, the quarterback has seven seconds to pass or hand-off the ball. If this time expires without a pass or hand-off, the ball shall be returned to the line

of scrimmage and the down shall be lost. As soon as the quarterback no longer has possession, the seven second rule ceases to apply, even if the quarterback gains

possession of the ball again.


No more than one forward pass is allowed on the same play. All players (including the quarterback) are eligible receivers.


Blocking is not allowed. Once a ball carrier has possession of the ball beyond the line of scrimmage, the other offensive players must stand still. If an offensive player moves and impedes the progress of a defender who is making an attempt to pull the ball carrier’s flag, an illegal blocking penalty shall be assessed.


A completion results when the receiver has control of the ball with at least one foot in bounds. If a receiver catches a pass while not wearing a flag belt, the player in procession of the ball is downed by a one hand tag.

Offensive players are not allowed to intentionally bat a passed ball forward to a teammate. A pass that is intentionally batted forward (in the referee’s judgement) that is

caught by an offensive player shall be ruled as an incomplete pass.


No more than one player at a time is allowed to be in motion, and a player in motion may not move toward the line of scrimmage while the ball is being snapped.

G. Defense

Flag Pulling

• To stop the ball carrier, the defensive player must remove the flag or force (without contact) him/her out of bounds.

• No intentional contact is allowed. This includes tackling, pushing, grasping, and bumping. This also includes touching the face or head in any way or contacting a

passer’s arm or the ball while he/she is holding the ball.

• Incidental contact to the ball carrier’s body while reaching for the flag belt is not a violation.

• If a ball carrier’s flag falls off without being touched, he/she is down after a one-hand tag is applied by a defensive player.

Rushing the Quarterback

Any defensive player is eligible to rush the quarterback if he/she is behind the rushing line when the ball is snapped. The rushing line is marked by the official and is seven paces from the line of scrimmage. This seven-pace distance applies even if the first down line or goal line is less than seven yards from the line of scrimmage.

Any number of players may rush the quarterback, provided they comply with the listed restrictions.

When the ball leaves the quarterback’s hands (for a handoff or pass), then all defensive players immediately become eligible to rush, regardless of whether they lined up behind the rush line.

For the 5 and 6 year old division only, rushing is not allowed. Defensive players may NOT enter the backfield.

H. Change of Possession

A team failing to advance beyond the first down marker or into the end zone after four downs loses possession of the ball. The opposing team takes possession on its own

five yard line.

In most divisions, an intercepted pass results in a change of possession and may be returned until the ball is dead. The line of scrimmage then moves to the point at which

the ball was ruled down.

I. Dead Ball

The ball shall be declared dead when:

• The ball touches the ground

• Any part of the ball carrier other than hands or feet touches the ground

• A run is attempted from a no-running zone

• The ball carrier’s flag belt is removed. In the case the belt falls off the offensive player is down by a one hand tag.

• The ball carrier scores

• The ball carrier steps out of bounds

• The seven second clock expires

J. Score Values

• Touchdown: 6 points

• Point after touchdown

• From 5 yards: 1 point

• From 12 yards: 2 points

• Safety: 2 points

• Extra point attempt (whether from 3 or 6 paces) returned to opposing end zone:

2 points

K. Tie Games

During the regular season, games ending in a tie will remain a tie game.

During the playoffs, games ending in a tie will be settled by a longest-yard tie-breaker.

A coin toss will take place to determine which team will go on offense first. The winner of the coin-toss will have the right to choose offense or defense. Each team will have one play from their own five-yard line to gain as many yards as possible. The team gaining the most yards will be declared the winner.

In the event that a team loses yardage or is assessed a penalty on their play, their yardage will be marked as zero. A team cannot have negative yardage on their play. If

the defensive team a safety, this counts as two points, and the game is over. If both teams have negative yardage, or the same positive yardage, on their plays, a second overtime tiebreaker will take place.

L. Ejections

At the official’s discretion, a player may be ejected from the field for unsportsmanlike conduct or any flagrant violation of the rules. To eject a player, the official shall notify the coach, who is responsible for removing the player within two minutes to avoid a forfeit. Any player ejected may be put on probation with possible suspension, depending upon the severity of incident. The League shall have full discretion when imposing penalties. Our league is intended to provide a family-oriented environment for the enjoyment of children. All coaches, players, and spectators are expected to show good sportsmanship at all times. The League, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to eject, suspend, or dismiss anyone for any inappropriate behavior.

M. Penalties

All defensive penalties are five yards, and result in an automatic first-down for the Offense if the yardage moves the offense past the next first down line.

All offensive penalties are five yards, and result in a loss-of-down for the offense.

Penalties are either imposed from the line of scrimmage or from the point at which the foul occurred.

For fouls that occur before or during (prior to the catch) a legal forward pass, the foul shall be marked from the original line of scrimmage.

Otherwise, the foul is spotted from the point of the infraction.

The offended team always has the option to decline any penalty. When the penalty is greater than the distance to the goal line, it shall be assessed half the distance to the

goal line.

A period of play cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense chooses to decline it. In the event of a defensive penalty that is not declined at the end of a half, the

offense receives another un-timed play (along with an extra point attempt, if they score).

Offensive Penalties - 5 Yards from Line of Scrimmage

• Delay of Game

• Off-Sides

• False Start

• Illegal Motion

• Illegal Blocking

• Attempting to Run from a No-running Zone

• Offensive Pass Interference

• Charging (depending on degree)

• Interference by a Coach on the Field

• Too Many Players on the Field

• Equipment Violation

• Unsportsmanlike Conduct

• Using Profanity, Taunting, or Using Insulting or Vulgar Language or


• Disrespectfully Addressing any Person

• Holding

• Stripping or Attempting to Strip the Ball

• Intentionally Contacting an Official

• Fighting

Offensive Penalties - 5 Yards from the Spot of the Infraction,

• Jumping

• Diving

• Flag Guarding

• Charging (depending on degree)

Flag guarding by the Quarterback occurring in his or her own end-zone will result in a safety.

Defensive Penalties - 5 Yards from the Line of Scrimmage

• Defensive Pass Interference

• Roughing the Passer

• Removing Receiver’s Flag Belt Before he/she Contacts the Ball

• Tackling, Hitting, or Shoving the Ball Carrier

• Obstructing or Holding the Ball Carrier

• Illegally Rushing the Quarterback

• Unsportsmanlike Conduct

• Spiking, Kicking, or Inappropriately Throwing the Ball

• Spiking or Throwing Flag

• Unsportsmanlike Conduct

• Using Profanity, Taunting, or Using Insulting or Vulgar Language or Gestures

• Disrespectfully Addressing any Person

• Holding

• Stripping or Attempting to Strip the Ball

• Intentionally Contacting an Official

• Fighting

• Too Many Players on the Field

• Equipment Violation

On extra-points only, pass interference occurring in the end-zone will result in a successful extra point conversion. Pass interference occurring in the end-zone during

the regular course of play will result in a five yard penalty from the original line of scrimmage, and an automatic first-down.

Last Man Rule

In the event that the defensive player commits a flagrant holding penalty and there are no other defensive players between the offensive player and the end-zone, the referee has the discretion to credit the offensive player with a touchdown (or extra point conversion).

In the event that the defensive team intercepts an extra-point conversion attempt, and the defensive player is flagrantly held by the (original) offensive player, two points shall be credited to the (original) defensive team.

Possible Warnings (at Official’s Discretion) in Addition to Penalty

The referee has the ability to warn a player for unsportsmanlike conduct, and require the player to sit out a specified number of plays, or for the remainder of the half.

Possible Ejection (at Official’s Discretion) in Addition to Penalty

• Flagrant Unsportsmanlike Conduct

• Flagrant Personal Fouls (especially Tackling, Pass Interference, and Charging)

• Intentionally Tampering with equipment.

Field Status

Open Open

Victory Campus (09:55 AM | 03/10/20)

Open Open

Field 2 (09:55 AM | 03/10/20)

Open Open

Field 6 (09:55 AM | 03/10/20)

Open Open

Field 4 (09:55 AM | 03/10/20)

Open Open

Soccer Field 1 (09:55 AM | 03/10/20)

Open Open

Football Field 1 (09:55 AM | 03/10/20)

Open Open

Field 3 (09:55 AM | 03/10/20)

Open Open

Field 1 (09:55 AM | 03/10/20)

Open Open

Field 5 (09:55 AM | 03/10/20)

Open Open

Field 7 (02:55 PM | 06/19/20)

Open Open

Field 8 (03:17 PM | 06/19/20)

Closed Closed

Central United Methodist Church (11:46 AM | 02/20/20)

Open Open

Field 6 (09:55 AM | 03/10/20)

Open Open

Field 7 (11:04 AM | 03/15/22)

Open Open

Clear Creek Baptist Church (10:27 AM | 12/21/22)

Open Open

Field 1 (10:27 AM | 12/21/22)