The VPA and football committee have released information regarding the fall 2020 high school football season. The 7-v-7 format will be played using the full field with the game starting with the lineman vs. lineman.  Some schools may offer a “Lineman Challenge” for some of the lineman who aren’t as interested in the 7-v-7 portions of the game.  Schools will have to communicate with each other if they are going to offer the challenge.

Fans will not be in Rutland this November for championship games. There will be no postseason for football this year. It was the decision of the VPA Football Committee that the 7-v-7 format has fundamentally changed the game and they felt that it was more important to have students participate in as many games/events as possible, rather than focusing on playoffs.  

Games are typically played on Friday night or Saturday afternoon. All games must be shifted to Tuesdays & Wednesdays.

Facial coverings are a requirement to be worn by all players, coaches, officials, staff, and spectators at all times. The NFHS does not permit the use of plastic shields covering the entire face, or attached to a helmet during competition. 

Helmets are the only personal protective equipment that can be issued by the school.  Helmets must be sanitized daily. Mouth guards and receiver gloves are recommended. Blocking Sleds may be used with proper sanitizing between each individual’s use. Free standing blocking bags (without a player or coach holding) may be used with proper sanitizing between each individual’s uses.

There will be daily health screenings of all students, coaches, and staff. Student-athletes must follow social distancing guidelines when possible especially on the sideline. Fan attendance will be monitored and the current maximum is 150 people in attendance.

Rules and regulations sent by the football committee and VPA:

  1. Starting the game:
  1. Each team can have no more than 7 players on the field at a time.
  2. 15 minute quarters (continuous running clock for each quarter) Time will start after the opening kickoff of each half, or when the ball is first snapped from the 30 yard line.  3 time outs per half, normal halftime.
  3. Helmets will be the only protective equipment issues for practice and playing in games. Receiver gloves are acceptable equipment and are encouraged.  Mouth guards are recommended, but not required.
  4. Lineman group will play Quarters 1 & 3, Backs & Receivers play Quarters 2 & 4. Defensive players in quarters 2 & 4 who also are offensive lineman can play offense during quarters 1 & 3.
  5. Quarterbacks during quarter 1 & 3 can be a traditional quarterback, but teams are not limited to that. (if you have a lineman who you want to play QB that is allowed)
  6. A central time keeper will be designated.  Schools with scoreboards will supply a timer for the games.  

2.       Moving the ball

  1. Offensive Plays; Must all be passes.
  2. Kicking Game: Teams may choose to kick the ball off each half and after a score, this if for the development of the kicker’s skills, regardless of where the ball lands the offense will start their drive on their 30 yard line.  The kicking team’s defense can be on the field with the kicker, but there is no return or need for the receiving team to be tag since the ball will be spotted on the 30 yard line.
  3. Punt: Offense, needs to declare that they will be punting and can have a long snapper and kicker on the field; the defense will have 2 players to receive the punt.  If the punt is caught that will be the point of possession for the offense.  If the punt isn’t touched by the receiving team, the point in which the ball comes to rest is the point of possession.  If the ball is muffed forward by the defense, the ball will next be put into play where it was first touched.  If the ball is muffed backwards by the defense the point in which the ball comes to rest is the point of possession.  There are NO fake punts.
  4. Field Goal / PAT: Offense can have a long snapper, holder and kicker for a field goal & PAT attempt, The defense will remain on the field during the FG/PAT but may not rush or return the ball. Unsuccessful field goal is a dead ball and the opposing team takes possession of the ball at the point of the kick. 
  5. The QB is allowed 4.0 seconds to throw the ball, the defense is not allowed to rush the quarter back.  The Official timekeeper starts a stopwatch on the snap of the ball from center and stops the watch as soon as the QB releases the ball.
    1. If release is under 4.0 seconds, the play goes on.
    2. If the timekeeper sees that the clock has exceeded 4.0 seconds, he waits until the play is over (the play is not blown dead), then brings the ball back to the original line of scrimmage with loss of down. (The timekeeper will be an official). 
    3. All passes must be forward.  A pass caught behind the line of scrimmage must be a forward pass. Backward pass infraction would be a loss of down.
    4. Once a forward pass has been thrown, a backward pass (lateral) is allowed.

3.       Rules

  1. No blocking or tackling.  
  2. Receiver/Ball carrier is legally down when touched with one or both hands. Incidental contact by the defender doesn’t constitute a touch, the defender must actively touch the receiver.  (Excessive force by shoving, pushing, or striking a blow will be penalized by automatic first down and 15 yards.  Expulsion of a player(s) if ruled unsportsmanlike & flagrant).
  3. Fumbles are dead balls at the spot with the last team retaining possession.  A muffed snap is not a fumble/dead ball.  The 4.0 second count remains in effect on snaps.
  4. Each team will have 40 seconds to snap the ball once the previous play ends (a whistle will sound ending the play).  After any administration stoppage, the offense will have 25 seconds to snap the ball once it has been marked ready for play.  Two delay-of-game penalties in the same possession results in a turnover.  A delay-of-game penalty on the extra point try results in a turnover. 
  5. Responsibility to avoid contact is with the defense.  There will be NO chucking, deliberate bumping, or grabbing.  These actions will result in a defensive holding penalty. 
  6. If a defender crosses the line of scrimmage it is defensive off sides (5 yard penalty)                            
  7. Interceptions / Fumble: Interceptions is a live ball and may be returned, team take possession where downed.  Any fumble on return will be considered a dead ball.            
  8. The offensive center is not an eligible receiver (teams must have a center as one of their 7 players).  The ball must be snapped from the ground between the snapper’s legs.  The center does becomes an eligible defender when there is an interception by the defense.
  9. There will be an area referred to as the tackle box that extends 3 yards on both sides of the center and 3 yards deep into the backfield.  No eligible receiver may align within the tackle box
  10. No coaches on the field, they need to coach from the sideline.  
  11. Uniforms:  Home team will wear dark uniforms and the visiting team white or light jerseys.  Jerseys must have numbers on the front and back in accordance to NFHS Football Guidelines; i.e. your team jerseys.  The lower part of the uniforms can be game pants, sweatpants, or shorts, as long each team member has the like color bottoms on. We don’t expect schools to purchase new uniforms or lowers for the season.

4.   Scoring:  

  1. Touchdowns – 6 points
  2. PAT – 1 point kicking from the 3 yard line, 2 points passing from the 10 yard line
  3. Safety – 2 pts. & possession of the ball 1st & 10 at the 30. 

5.       Secondary Coverages: Coverage will be the choice of each participating team.

6.       Officials:  (4)-Officials will be assigned for each game.

A.   The Referee will be designated the official that will keep the 4 second clock.

7.   Film Exchange:  The film exchange policy will be suspended for the 2020 season

Team schedules are being modified due to teams opting out or playing a shorter season. Local 22/44 will release the HS football schedule when it is available.

Courtesy of the VPA and the football committee for the rules per release.