Pop Warner/YMCA Football Rules < Back

Pop Warner Football rules will be followed with the following clarifications and additions.
  Practice | Game Management | Defense | Offense | Kick-Offs / Returns | Punts / Returns | Extra Point Kicks | Field Goals

    Practice Top
  1. The first week of practice, must be conditioning, and each practice may not exceed a 2 hour time limit. Pads may not be worn.
  2. Four (4) practices are allowed during weeks that games are not scheduled (3 in pads).
  3. Three (3) practices are allowed during game weeks (2 in pads).
  4. Teams are allowed to hold intrasquad or intersquad scrimmages. These scrimmages count as padded practices.
  5. Teams are allowed to hold intrasquad or intersquad scrimmages during the half times of high school, college or professional games. This does not count as a practice.
    Game Management Top
  1. Weigh-In - On each game day, the home team is responsible for weighing athletes for all teams playing at the site. This is to make sure that every athlete meets the weight requirements set by Pop Warner.
  2. Coin Toss - Before the game, there will be a coin toss which will be called by the visiting team. The winner of the toss will have first choice of options for a half. They Are: 1) Kick-Off. 2) Defend a particular goal. 3) Defer and have first choice of the two options in the second half.
  3. Offensive Coach - In all games, a single (1) offensive coach is allowed on the field of play on his side of the line of scrimmage. In the huddle, the coach may not use writing instruments. However, cards with pre-diagrammed plays are acceptable
  4. Defensive Coach - In all games, a single (1) defensive coach is allowed on the field of play on his side of the line of scrimmage. The coach may not impede the offense in any way and at the snap he must be 15 yards off behind safeties.
    Coaches who impede/shout direction of plays to his players, will be given a warning first and if it continues, will be assessed a 5 yard penalty.
  5. Game Length - A game will consist of four (4) quarters, each eight- (8) minutes in length. There will be a one- (1) minute break at the end of the first and third quarters and ten (10) minutes at half time.
  6. Between Plays - There is a thirty (30) second time limit between plays. Time starts when the officials set the ball.
  7. Timeouts - Each team is allowed three one-minute (1) timeouts per half.
  8. Tiebreakers - Tiebreakers will NOT be played.
  9. 20 Point Rule - When one team leads another by more than 20 points, those points beyond a 20 point difference are not registered on the scoreboard. However, those points beyond 20 are banked. The leading team does NOT kick-off; the losing team will automatically get the ball at the 50-yard line. If at any time the losing team scores, this rule is negated until a 20-point difference is again obtained by the leading team. (This rule will be revisited frequently to ensure that teams are not "running up" the scores.)
  10. Officials - Officials are the "Game Site Managers" and have full authority to make decisions that protect the safety of the players, coaches, fans and the integrity of the goals of YMCA Pop Warner Football. Their authority begins with the original weigh in, and ends upon their departure following the last game of the day. These officials are "the law of the land" and have full support of the Executive Council in their decision making. This includes the following:
  11. Ejection of a Coach/Player: As stated in the high school rules, there is no recourse and the coach will not be able to actively participate in the next game
  12. Warning and Ejection of a Fan: This rule is original to YMCA Pop Warner Football and is very specific. A game can be halted by an official if a fan becomes unruly (foul language, vocal threats, or generally abusive to the integrity of the goals of YMCA Pop Warner Football). In other words, if the environment is not good for the players it must be dealt with in the following manner:
      1. Warning to the fan and both coaches.
      2. Stop play and inform the individual that if he/she doesn't depart the facility within 5 minutes the authorities will be called!
      3. Play will begin when the situation has met the satisfaction of the game officials.
    Defense Top
  1. 5-2 Defense - A 5-2 defense is mandatory.
  2. Defensive Line - Nose guards, defensive tackles, and defensive ends are considered linemen and must line up on the line of scrimmage.
  3. Nose Guards - Nose guard must align directly over the center, and be in a down position.
  4. Tackles - Defensive tackles must align directly over the offensive tackles, and be in a down position.
  5. Ends - Defensive ends must align directly over or outside the tight end, and be in an up position. If no tight end, then align anywhere outside the offensive tackle on the line of scrimmage.
  6. Linebackers - Linebackers must align directly over the offensive guards, and be back at least 3 yards off the line of scrimmage, at the snap.
  7. Secondary - All four (4) defensive backs must be aligned at least 1 yard behind the depth of the linebackers at the snap.
    Offense Top
  1. Alignment - Must have a guard, tackle, and end on each side of the center on the line of scrimmage. (No unbalanced lines).
  2. Splits - Line splits may not be wider than 3 feet. (Tight end to tight end, if you have them. No flex tight ends).
  3. Split Ends - Split ends are acceptable, but must be aligned at least five (5) yards from the tackle.
    Kick-Offs / Returns Top
  1. Beginning of Half - Each half will start with a kick-off by a team from their 40-yard line. However, the 20 point rule may supersede this.
  2. Free Kick Line - Neither team may cross their free kick line.
  3. Possession - When the ball is controlled by the receiving team, the play is over. If the ball is not caught, it is placed at the farthest point from the original line of scrimmage, where it is touched by the receiving team, becomes dead, or goes out of bounds outside the receiving team's 35 yard line.
  4. Out of Bounds - If the ball goes out of bounds inside the receiving team's 35- yard line, the ball will be placed on the 35-yard line.
    Punts / Returns Top
  1. Declaration - Must be declared and no faking is allowed.
  2. Free Kick Line - Neither team may cross the line of scrimmage. However, the defending team may attempt to block the kick from their side of the line of scrimmage. If blocked, the ball cannot be placed any closer to the punting team's goal than the original line of scrimmage.
  3. Receiving Team - Receiving team must have at least 5 men on the line of scrimmage.
  4. Punter - The punter must be a minimum of 7 yards from the snapper.
  5. Long Snap - There must be a long snap, followed by a punt.
  6. Bad Snaps of Fumble - If there is a bad snap or fumble; the ball must be punted from the point the punter gets control of the ball or his original spot, whichever is deeper.
  7. Possession - When the ball is controlled by the receiving team, the play is over.
  8. Errant Punt - If the ball is not caught, it is placed at the farthest point from the original line of scrimmage where it is touched by the receiving team or goes out of bounds.
    Extra Point Kicks Top
  1. Declaration - Must be declared and no faking is allowed.
  2. Free Kick Line - Neither team may cross the line of scrimmage. However, the defense may attempt to block the kick from their side of the line of scrimmage.
  3. Long Snap - Ball must be snapped, held, and kicked. Holder may not move from his immediate area to retrieve an errant snap. The ball may touch/bounce on the ground during the snap. For example, if the ball is snapped over the holder’s head, he may not get up and go get it.
    Field Goals Top
  1. Declaration - Must be declared and no faking is allowed.
  2. Free Kick Line - Neither team may cross the line of scrimmage. However, the defense may attempt to block the kick from their side of the line of scrimmage. If blocked, the ball cannot be placed any closer to the kicking team's goal than the original line of scrimmage.
  3. Long Snap - Ball must be snapped, held, and kicked. Same restrictions as extra point regarding the holder.
  4. Misses - On a missed field goal, the defensive team will take possession at their 20-yard line, or the original line of scrimmage, whichever is most beneficial.
 
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