League Rules

Varsity Flag Fall Youth League Rules

  1. Field Size: 30x60 with two 10-yard end zones. Fixed first downs at 15/30/15 yard lines. 
  2. On Field Team Size: If one team has less than the required number of players, the team with the opposing team can decide to play with a full team or match the other team (for example: the game can be played 7 on 5).
  3. Coaches on the field:
    1. For 6U Only: Two coaches are allowed
    2. For all other divisions: One coach is allowed.  
      1. Coaches cannot at any time obstruct the field.
  4. Stepping on or outside the boundary line is considered out of bounds.
    1. Game Clock: Two 20-minute halves with running time and one 2-minute warning in the second half. During the 2-minute warning, the clock becomes standard rules and stops for a change of possession, incomplete pass, out of bounds play, penalties, and first downs. The clock doesn’t start again until the ball is set, and the whistle is blown by the official.
    2. Timeouts: Each team gets two timeouts per game that can be used at any point.
    3. Overtime:
      1. There are no ties. If the game ends and the score is tied the following takes place:
        1. You have a coin toss and the winner opts for offense or defense.
        2. Each team gets one play from the 15-yd line. The longest play wins. Pass only. No run plays. Negative yards count.
        3. In the playoffs: The longest yard rule does not apply. There is a coin flip and the winner chooses offense or defense first. Then it is played out from the Red Zone. Each team gets equal chances.
        4. The winner of OT gets one point added to the score.
        5. There are no additional timeouts. If a timeout was not used during the game, it carries over and can be used.
        6. Overtime repeats until there is a winner.
        7. For 6U: Rushing/blitzing the quarterback is permitted. The quarterback CAN roll out or quarterback sneak the play.
  1. All Players Must Wear:
    1. League-issued Varsity Flag jersey tucked into their shorts / pants
    2. Shorts or pants that do not match the color of the flags
    3. Cleats or sneakers
  2. Optional:
    1. Receiver gloves
    2. Mouth guards


  1. The referee sets the ball, blows the whistle, and the offense has 30 seconds to snap the ball or it will result in a delay of game (five yard penalty).  Ball is placed on the 15 yard line to start each series. 
  2. The offense has six seconds for the ball (pass or run) to cross the line of scrimmage.  The ball is blown dead after six seconds and will be marked at the spot like a sack. The offense can only run the ball one play per set of downs (at the 6U level only the offense may run the ball twice per set of downs.) Laterals and backward passes behind the line of scrimmage are considered run plays. Laterals are not permitted once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage.
  3. If the ball is not thrown past the line of scrimmage by the QB, then it is a run play. Once an offense is in the Red Zone, this is considered a pass play. No player can lateral or handoff ANYTIME in the Red Zone, including after a reception. A ball carrier cannot shield their flag belt or stiff-arm (spot foul plus 10-yard penalty and loss of down). The ball must be snapped between the legs of the center. The receiver must have one foot inbounds.
    1. The Red Zone is the last 15 yards
    2. For 6U Only: Running in the Red Zone is permitted
  4. A ball carrier cannot run over the defender (charging penalty, spot foul and 10-yard penalty, loss of down). If the ball carrier falls to the ground, he can get up unless he's tagged with one hand while on the ground. If the ball carrier loses their flag belt it becomes a one hand touch.
  5. The spot of the ball in flag football is the body, not the ball. There is no diving to advance the ball and that is defined as leaving your feet and not landing on your feet (10 yards from spot and loss of down.) Otherwise, the offense must wait for the ref to say "Call Your Play". The on-field coach must be out of the way at the time of the snap.
  6. The QB is allowed to move 5 yards laterally, left or right. This is called the “pocket.” Only one(1) rusher may pursue him/her.  If the QB is flagged inside the pocket, it is a sack, not a run play. Once the QB is outside the pocket, any defender may rush him and when he’s flagged, it counts as the run play.
  7. “Center sneak” play is not allowed. The QB is not allowed to handoff to the center on the first handoff of the play.
  8. Any player who receives a handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.
  9. Runners may not leave their feet to advance the ball. Diving, leaping or jumping to avoid a flag pull is considered flag guarding. Spinning/Jump cuts are allowed, but players cannot leave their feet to avoid a flag pull.
  10. If the offensive team fails on 3 downs, they can elect to punt or go for the 4th down. If they elect to:
    1. Punt
      1. Possession of the ball changes and the opposition starts its drive from its own 15-yard line. 
      2. Go for it
        1. If the offensive team goes for it on the 4th down and does not convert a 1st down, the opposing team will start its possession from that spot.
  11. For 6U Only: The quarterback cannot roll out or quarterback sneak the play.
  1. The referee lines up next to the pass rusher. The defense has one rusher who lines up five yards off of the line of scrimmage and waits for an official to count "three Mississippi" before rushing. If the rusher comes in early, it is a free play. The offense will choose the play or a 5-yard penalty.
  2. If it is a run play, then all players can rush.
  3. The one rusher is not allowed in the secondary. He must rush or stay on the line of scrimmage.
  4. The secondary can line up on the line of scrimmage but it can't rush unless it is a run play.
  5. If the QB rolls out more than five yards to his left or right (official’s judgment) from the point of a snap or drop back at any time, then the rusher can come in and will be released by the ref.  If the QB hands off the ball behind the line of scrimmage, the defense can rush immediately.
  6. The secondary is not allowed to bump receivers or use contact to break up pass plays (automatic first down at the spot of the foul). The defender cannot hold the jersey (automatic first down plus a 10-yard penalty) in order to pull the flag and cannot tackle the ball carrier (automatic first down plus a 10-yard penalty).
  7. A tackle or jersey hold that prevents a touchdown will be called a touchdown.
  8. The defense can go offsides on purpose and there is no decline allowed by the offense.
  9. Once the ball has been handed off in front, behind or to the side of the quarterback, all defensive players are eligible to rush.
  10. The rusher cannot blitz which is defined as rushing prior to the 3 Mississippi count.
  11. For 6U Only: Rushing the quarterback is prohibited.
    1. The ball is live at the snap of the ball and remains live until the official whistles the ball dead.
    2. Play is ruled “dead” when:
      1. The ball hits the ground.
      2. The ball-carrier’s flag is pulled.
      3. The ball-carrier steps out of bounds.
      4. A touchdown, PAT or safety is scored.
      5. The ball-carrier’s knee or arm hits the ground.
      6. The ball-carrier’s flag falls off inadvertently and a defender touches him with one hand.
        1. A ball carrier or receiver is NOT automatically down if a flag falls off without being touched or if there’s an inadvertent call or whistle.
      7. For 10U and older:
        1. If the ball hits the ground as a result of a bad snap, then the ball is then placed where the ball hit the ground. All other fumbles are dead balls.
      8. For 6U and 8U:
        1. If the ball hits the ground as a result of a bad snap, the QB may pick up a bad snap and continue play.  All other fumbles are dead balls.
  1. Touchdown = 6 points
  2. PAT (point after touchdown)
    1. 3-yard line: 1 point
    2. 10-yard line: 2 points
      1. A team that scores a touchdown must declare whether it wishes to attempt a 1-point or a 2-point conversion. 
      2. Any change, once the decision is made, requires a charged timeout. A decision cannot be changed after a penalty.
  3. Safety:  2 points and the defense takes over possession on their own 15-yard line.
  4. Extra points that are returned equals 2 points
  5. Forfeits are scored 18-0
  1. Coin Toss:  At the start of each game, captains from both teams meet at midfield for the coin toss to determine who starts with the ball. The visiting team calls the toss.
    1. Winning team chooses to receive the ball, defer or which end zone to defend.
  2. Downs: There are 4 downs. Please read Offense #10 for further clarification.
  3. Contact: There is no offensive blocking at any time (10 yards from the spot and loss of down). No picks (same penalty). On defense, there is no defensive bumping of receivers, no contact to break up a pass, no contact prior to pulling the flag, and no holding the ball carrier prior to pulling the flag. ALL of these will result in an automatic first down and a "Contact Penalty" (determined by referees’ discretion). Two Contact penalties in a game will result in an ejection for the player. Two ejections will result in a suspension of the player.
  4. Collision Avoidance: Runners may leave their feet if there is a clear indication that he/she has done so to avoid collision with another player without a flag guarding penalty enforced.
  5. Flag Obstruction: All jerseys MUST be tucked in before play begins. The flags must be on the player’s hips and free from obstruction. Deliberately obstructed flags will be considered flag guarding. Defenders can one-hand touch offensive players whose flags are unintentionally obstructed; officials will use discretion to whistle play dead if a defender is able to touch the offensive player.
  6. Mercy Rule: If at any time a team is losing by 18 pts, that team gets an extra down on offense and an extra run play per set of downs. If any time in the second half a team is leading by 36 points, then the game is over.
  1. The Commissioner’s rule is final and in the absence of the Commissioner, the Assistant Commissioner will have the final say.
  2. Any situation not covered by the rules listed below, the Commissioner will have final decision.
  3. Good faith effort to resolve all disputes during games on the field between the two head coaches and the referees. If this cannot occur, then the commissioner will step in and resolve the dispute.
  4. The Commissioner and the league have the right to remove, suspend or expel any head or assistant coach from the league for any violation of the rules of the league or code of conduct. This will be handled on a case by case basis.

Cancellations due to weather will be posted on the Varsity Flag website by 6:00 AM on Sundays.