Football Rules

Game Sequence and Times
Changes to game times must be approved by the PAL executive board.

Jr. Flyweights: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Flyweights: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Mighty Mites: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Jr. Varsity: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Coach’s Game Attendance

A coach from the team must be present in order for the team to take the field.

Sideline limits

1 head coach, 4 assistant coaches (includes play counter)
2 white hats, 2 team parents (must be behind coaches box)
1 PSC, 1 safety officer.
Up to 11 (can not exceed) total adults can be on the sideline

Hosting Organization Field Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the home team to ensure all equipment for play is available and the field is marked according to NFHS rules. Additionally, each organization shall create an 18 ft. buffer zone between the sidelines and the spectators. The buffer zone shall be the entire length of the field, be on the home and visiting team’s sidelines, and be identified as being roped off. The following individuals are allowed in the buffer zone: PAL executive board members; white hats of the team’s organization; coaches, team parents, and play counter of the team that is playing; reporters, videographers, and photographers are at the discretion of the head coach.

Line-to-gain crews are the responsibility of the home team and will be established per NFHS rules. The NFHS rules cover general instructions, pregame duties, and game procedures.

It is the responsibility of the home team to insure payment of the officiating crew per the contract signed by the PAL executive board. Payment shall be made by check to the officiating parent company or business after the last game of the day

Check-In Procedures

The home team will designate check-in area. Rosters will be in numerical order for each division. Each player’s official file must be available at the check-in and also for the entire game day for the opposing director or a PAL executive board member. Directors or a designee are responsible for the official records. Each team will give a roster to opposing team’s director and to the announcer.

Players are required to be present for check-in 1 hour before the start of their game or during the halftime of the preceding game, whichever is sooner. Each player will be lined up in numerical order as listed on the roster and must be in possession of their official game jersey at the time of check-in. Each director or designee will initial in each assigned block as follows: if the player is available for play – director or designee’s Initials; Injured – I; Absent – A; Sick – S; Disciplinary – D; Quit – Q; Vacation – V, and Present but Injured – PI. Players must be at roster check-in in order to play. The team’s informational file will be made available immediately for the directors or any PAL executive board member for the entire day. 

Turning in Scores

The home team must turn in scores (via email) by 6 p.m. on the Sunday following the game to the PAL executive director. The PAL executive director may request that scores be phoned in instead of emailed, but in either case, they must be received by 6 p.m. on Sunday or the violating organization will be fined $50.00.

Practice Participation Requirements

Players must physically participate in practices during the week to be eligible to play on Saturdays. A player may miss one practice during the week and remain eligible. Coming to practice and watching does not constitute attendance of practice unless permission is granted by either the director and/or athletic director.

Head coaches will keep written attendance reports for practice and turn them in to the organization’s athletic director on a weekly basis and they will be retained for the remainder of the season. These reports will be made available upon request to the opposing team’s director or any PPAL executive board member.

Scrimmage Games

Scrimmage games may only take place between teams of the same division. Non-PPAL scrimmage games must receive the approval of the PPAL executive board before being conducted. Failure to comply will result in a $250.00 organization fine.

Rules of Play

The National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) rules book governs the field of play with the following exceptions:

  1. Game ball specifications: The Jr. Flyweights and Flyweights will use a Wilson K-2 or its equivalent. The Mighty Mites and Jr. Varsity will use a Wilson TDJ or its equivalent.
  2. Period of timing: Each quarter is 10 minutes; halftime is 10 minutes; and the mandatory warm-up after halftime is 3 minutes.
  3. Resolving tied games: Regular season games will be limited to two overtimes and conducted per the format in the NFHS rules book.
  4. Once a 35 point differential is reached after halftime. The game will automatically move to a running clock without the approval of either head coach and will only stop for timeouts or injuries. As part of the mercy rule. the team leaging by 35 points can no longer pass the ball.
  5. Video Taping: If a team decides to video tape its game, it may only do so on its side of the field outside of the coaches box between the goal line and 25 yard line. Any person wanting to video tape a game must clear it with the hosting teams director.
  6. Coaches on the Field: The Jr. Flyweight division is allowed to have an offensive coach and a defensive coach on the field of play for the first five games of the regular season; after that, no coaches are allowed on the field. The coach for the offense and the coach for the defense may communicate with their team until the line is set. Once the line is set, all communications with their team stops and the offensive coach must move behind the referee and the defensive coach must move behind the back judge; failure to obey this rule will result in a penalty of unsportsmanlike conduct. 

9-Man Football

A team that has 13 players or less may elect to play 9-man football. If so, the organization’s director must notify the opposing team’s director and the PPAL executive director via phone/email/ or text message no later than 7 p.m. on Tuesday before that week’s game. Failure to do so will result in a forfeit. The head coaches have the option to mutually agree to play 11-man football on game day.

Failure to Field a Team

Any organization that cannot field a team will forfeit the game and pay a $200.00 fine or cover the cost of the referees for the opposing team for the forfeited game (Maximum $200.00 fine per division per game day). Within a minimum of forty-eight (48) hours advance notice then no penalty. These fines may be waived by the PPAL executive director by showing of just cause.

Make-Up Games / Lighting

It is PPAL policy that all leagues must have a lighting meter or weather bug app. Once lighting registers between 6-8 miles on either device practice and or game play must stop for 30 minutes. At this point we will follow NFHS rules.

Games that are cancelled or discontinued will be rescheduled to be played on the Sunday immediately following the regularly scheduled game. Failure to participate in a continued or rescheduled game will result in a forfeit. Should officials be scheduled and the opposing team forfeits, then the forfeit fee will apply.

Mandatory Play Rule

Mandatory play count for all rostered players is 8 plays. Replaying of a down due to a penalty does not count toward the required minimum number of plays. Failure to comply with the mandatory play rule will result in a forfeit and suspension of the head coach for one week of practice and one game.

Play Counting

Plays are counted during the game by both teams and will be turned in to their directors upon completion of the game who will in turn place them in the PPAL Drop Box folder by 6 p.m. on the Sunday following the game. If a team wants to play count the opposing team, it must be requested at the time of check-in to the opposing team’s director or designee. If a team is being play counted by the opposing team, the play counter must be on the sidelines of the team being play counted and advise the head coach as to their presence. They will stand next to the team play counter. Play counters will compare each count at the end of each quarter and any discrepancies brought to the attention of each director. Play counters will remain with the team during the entire game to include halftime and must not use any communication device. If a play count sheet cannot be produced at the request of the PPAL executive director the head coach is subject to suspension.

Post-Game Handshake

Players will conduct a post-game handshake while wearing helmets. The coaches and at least one white hat from each organization will be on the field and shake hands as well. Coaches that fail to comply could face a one game suspension. Teams will leave the field immediately following the post-game handshake, i.e. no team meeting on the field.


The playoff schedule will be produced by the PAL executive director. Seeding for teams that share the same record will be determined by the following: #1 Head-to-head record; #2 points scored against, and #3 a coin toss.

Post-Season Play Participation Requirement

Players must participate in at least 6 of the 10 regular season games in order to be eligible to participate in post-season play. If a player misses more than four games due to legitimate medical conditions and a detailed doctor’s note is provided, the PAL executive director may elect to deem that player eligible for post-season.

Organization directors wishing to have post-season eligibility granted to any player missing more than four games, due to a legitimate medical condition must request in writing, along with the supporting documents provided by a physician, to the PAL executive director 4 days prior to the scheduled event. The PAL executive director will determine player eligibility on a case by case basis.