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Youth Flag Football League Rules


A. General Rules

  1.  Penalties: 5 yard minor and 10-yard major penalties will be enforced
  2.  Eight players on the field at a time. The offense must play 3 offensive linemen, a center and two guards in a balanced formation. The defense must play 3 defensive linemen. The offensive and defensive lineman must be in a down stance.
  3.  A player’s equipment may not include headgear except for a soft stocking cap. The cap may not have a bill of any kind. No metal-cleated football shoes, golf or track shoes, cowboy boots, or bare feet will be allowed.
  4.  Each player’s pants, or shorts must contrast with the flags (flags are red and yellow). Final judgment will be left to the game officials.
  5.  No jewelry is allowed. An official will allow medical medals if properly covered with tape and declared safe. Gloves are allowed providing they contain no metal, no padding, and no abrasive materials.
  6.  Players must tuck in their shirts in such a manner that the shirt will not interfere with their flags.
  7.  One Coach from each team may be present on the actual field of play to assist players in positioning themselves and in the huddle. Coaches may not interfere in any way with actual play.
  8.  Captains will participate in the pre-game conference with the officials. Only one captain on the field should be designated to talk to the officials to decide penalty options. The coach may assist the captain with the decision. Most decisions will be obvious and not needed to be discussed.
  9.  All players must play at least one-half of the game.
  10.  All players are required to wear a set of flags. In the case of an inadvertent detached flag:
  • a. On all running plays, the ball will be spotted at the point where the flag fell off.
  • b. On a pass play, a potential receiver who drops his flag then catches the ball will not be allowed to advance beyond the pont of the reception.
  • c. If a defensive player is caught pulling the flag off of an offensive player before recieving the ball, an unsportsmanlike penalty will be assessed.

         11. The ball is dead when it touches the ground. Exception: a center snap to the punter.

B. Playing Rules - Offense

  1.  Spinning is allowed. (Not an excuse for running over a defender.)
  2.  All offensive players are eligible receivers. This rule is in line with current Flag Football rules.
  3.  Sleeper play: no offensive player who is “spread” shall be closer than five (5) yards from the sidelines; he must come from the huddle. The sleeper is illegal.
  4.  One forward pass is allowed per play. An unlimited number of laterals are allowed.
  5.  Kickoffs will not take place. The ball will be placed at the twenty-yard line to begin the game and after scores and on touchbacks. If a safety occurs, the ball will be placed at mid-field..
  6. Punts:
  • a. Offensive team is required to declare when it is punting. Both offensive and defensive teams must respect the neutral zone until the ball has been kicked. The punt must come from at least 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage. The punter must kick the ball within 5 seconds after receiving the snap from center. NOTE: The ball is not dead when it touches the ground on a snap from center; kicker may pick it up off the ground.
  • b. Defense may not rush and offense may not leave the line until after ball has been kicked. All players on the line of scrimmage must remain in the same position form the time the ball is snapped until the time the ball is kicked. (All players must face the line of scrimmage.)
  • c. Center must hike the ball between the legs on all punts. Remember it is a learning process.
  • d. Punts cannot be advanced. It is spotted where it stops rolling, goes out of bounds, or is caught.
  • e. Ball punted into end zones: Ball cannot be run out of the end zone but will be brought out to the 20-yard line. If ball is dropped in end zone, it is a touchback and will be placed on the 20-yard line.

           7. No offensive player may screen block, on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage on a pass play, until after the pass is caught. Result: offensive pass interference. Major penalty: Loss of down.

C. Playing Rules - Defense  

  1. The defense must play 3 defensive linemen and those defensive linemen must line up head up of the offensive linemen, however the nose guard must be shaded to either side of the center (in the gap). The nose guard must go through that gap. There is no bull rushing the center. You may use any other move. The defensive lineman must also be in a down stance and 1 yard off of the ball. If the offense uses more than three lineman, than the defense will have the option of using more lineman. The other defenders can line up anywhere on the field but have to be a minimum of 3 yards off the line of scrimmage.
  2. NO BLITZING. Those eligible to rush the passer when the quarterback is in the pocket are the down linemen. Once the QB has left the pocket all defensive players are allowed to rush the QB. The pocket is defined as in between the tackles.
  3.  Impeding the runner will be enforced when a defensive player makes an attempt to stop a runner’s forward momentum without attempting to de-flag the runner. 10-yard penalty.
  4. Roughing the passer will be defined as any contact with the passer after the release of the ball. Any contact with the quarterback’s head, whether intentional or not, will result in a major penalty and possible ejection from the game.

D. Penalties

1. Blocking: An offensive block may take place. This must be done without holding, grabbing, clipping, or using hands to the face. Teach players to block by moving their feet and holding their hands in fists.

2. Blocking and interlocked interference: Teammates of a runner or passer may interfere for them by screen blocking, but shall not use interlocked interference by grasping or encircling one another in any manner. Penalty: Personal foul, 10 yards.

3. Tackling:

  • a. An attempt to encircle the body of an opponent with hands or arms, thus impeding his progress. Penalty: 10 yards and an automatic first down.
  • b. Tackling or pushing a ball carrier that is running near a sideline for the purpose of knocking him out of bounds. Penalty: 10 yards (possible ejection). Only de-flagging can stop ball carrier’s progress.
  • c. NOTE: Repeated violations may result in a touchdown being awarded and possible ejection.

4. Protecting Flags: The ball carrier shall not protect his flags by blocking with arms or hands to stop an opponent from pulling or removing flags. Penalty: 10 yards

5. Motion: One player in the offensive backfield may be in motion but not in motion toward the line of scrimmage. All other players must be without movement of a part of the body or its extremities. Penalty: 5 yards.

6. Hurdling: An attempt by the ball carrier to jump over a player who is still standing or is on his hands and knees. Penalty: 10 yards.

7. Straight Arm: Extended to ward off an opponent. Penalty: 10 yards.

8. Butting or lowering head: By offensive runner is illegal. Penalty: 10 yards. Offensive runner may not run over defensive player. The runner must attempt to run around him. Penalty: 10 yards.

9. Stance: Offensive and Defensive lineman must be in a 3 point stance.

10. Offsides: One player from the defense comes across the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. Penalty: 5 yards.

11. Delay of Game: Will not be called unless it becomes an excessive problem. Coaches work on getting your players up to the line of scrimmage and snapping the ball within 30 seconds. Penalty: 5 yards.

Field Dimensions

Flag football teams will play on a 70-yard long field X 38 yards wide. Endzones may be shorter to fit the field in.

The Ball


The ball issued by the Cañon City Recreation District is the official game ball of the program.

Time Per Game

Games for flag football are regulated by time. Here are the following rules:

K/1 & 2/3 Grade: 20 minute running halves. 5-minute halftimes.

All teams are allowed 3 timeouts per game, 1 minute in length.

In case of weather, the Recreation District will make the final determination if play will be suspended. Call the office at 275-1578, check the website at, or check our facebook page if the weather is in question.

Zone To Gain (Flag Football Only)

A team in possession of the ball has four consecutive downs to advance the ball to the next zone. Zone 1 is from the goal line to the 20-yard line. Zone 2 is from the twenty-yard line to mid-field or 35-yard line. Zone 3 is from midfield (35 yard line) to the other 20-yard line. Zone 4 is from the 20-yard line to the goal line. The zone to gain in any series is the zone in advance of the ball. A team has four downs to move to the next zone, regardless of where the series of downs is started. A new series is awarded when a team moves the ball into the next zone.

Coin Toss The team that wins the toss to start the game has 2 options.

  • To take the ball first. 
  • To go on defense first.

The opposing team will pick which goal to defend.


The ball can be run or passed into the end zone from the two-yard line for two points. It is an un-timed play and can be run with no time on the clock