Tackle Football Rules


KIDSPORTS Tackle Football games will be played according to the official rule book approved and published by the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations. Some of the Federation rules have been changed and/or modified by KIDSPORTS. These modifications are listed herein:

The program is available for all 5-8 grade students, and is designed to provide participants with an opportunity to play football at the highest level possible in a controlled competitive atmosphere.

Teams are formed in each high school area for each grade (5th-6th combined, 7th-8th combined) classification. Teams are limited to players who reside in and attend schools which feed the high school which encompasses their residence.

The Tackle Football Program is under the direction of an advisory committee which reports to staff and the Executive Director of Kidsports and the Kidsports Board of Directors. The Tackle Football Advisory Committee is instrumental in all tackle football program rules, policies and procedures.


Referees for tackle football games are trained and assigned by the Lane County Football Officials Association. Kidsports contracts with this organization to supply referees for our games. This organization also provides referees for all high school and middle school games in the area.

Kidsports program policies dealing with team formation, practices, and general program philosophy can be found in the COACHES HANDBOOK. It is important for all coaches to become familiar with all relevant KIDSPORTS and program policies. Your understanding of Kidsports program policies, playing rules, and philosophies is vital to assuring that Kidsports is a positive experience for each participant.

KIDSPORTS playing requirements for minimum playing time are not intended as recommendations for maximum playing time or to limit a player's time due to ability. The minimum playing time requirements are simply the minimum each child should play - and coaches should make every attempt to play everyone on their roster as much as possible.

Artificial Turf Field Rules)

1(a) Official Schedule: A schedule of games for each Kidsports team will be drafted by the Kidsports program staff. Once a schedule is published and distributed by Kidsports the schedule will not be changed, altered, modified, etc., except for those situations deemed to be of a satisfactory nature to the program staff. Any schedule change must be approved by your Sports Manager and KIDSPORTS Staff first.

1(b) Team Arrival at Game Site - One (1) registered coach or their representative must be at the game site at least thirty (30) minutes prior to the scheduled game time to supervise players and fans.

1(c) Players Needed to Start Game - A minimum of ten (10) players must be present and ready to play at the scheduled game starting time.

NOTE : Penalty For Violation - Failure to comply with this ruling will cause the referee to award a win by forfeit to the team ready to play. If both teams are in violation, the game will be declared a "no contest" and each team charged with a loss.

1(d) Home /Visiting Team: The home team is designated on the game schedule. The home team is responsible for providing the down marker and yards-to-gain chain and is responsible for providing adults to run them.

1(e) Line-Up Cards - Will be issued to all coaches by the Kidsports office. Coaches will fill out a Kidsports issued line-up card for each game and exchange them with the opposing coach. Completed line-up cards must be available five (5) minutes before game time. Only mark designated quarters for each player.


2(a) Teams - Each team must have at least 16 and not more than 35 legally registered players. Any exceptions must be approved by Kidsports staff. Minimum team size 16, Maximum team size 35.

2(b) School Combinations - One or more in-district team for each league can/will be formed by combining the middle schools which feed students into a particular high school. Kidsports Teams will be made up by using the following combinations:


MARIST AREA - St. Paul/O'Hara


SOUTH EUGENE AREA - Roosevelt/Spencer Butte/O'Hara

SHELDON AREA - Cal Young/Monroe/St. Paul

SPRINGFIELD AREA - Springfield/Briggs/Hamlin/Agnes Stewart

THURSTON AREA - Briggs/Thurston/Agnes Stewart

WILLAMETTE AREA - Cascade/Shasta/Meadow View/PMS

PLEASANT HILL - Pleasant Hill

All other teams will be considered out-of-district teams.

2(c) The Kidsports Tackle Football Program consists of two separate leagues. Weight/ age/ grade requirements are found under Eligibility and Weight Requirements in the Special Rules & Modifications of National Federation Rules section of this booklet.


3(a) A physical examination is required. In addition, a Kidsports release is signed by a parent or legal guardian. Proof of a physical exam by a licensed physician must be provided before participating in the contact phase of the tackle football program. An opportunity will be provided for a physical by physicians, donating their time, for a nominal fee.


4(a) Supervision - A registered and assigned coach is required to be in attendance for the duration of any practice or game session.

4(b) Practice Requirements - Prior to participating in a contact scrimmage session all tackle players are required to attend a minimum of FIVE (5) practice sessions of which are at least one hour in length and must be devoted entirely to exercises and conditioning drills.

4(c) Maximum Sessions Per Week - During the first three weeks, tackle football is limited to five (5) sessions per week. These sessions are limited to two (2) hours in duration. Beginning week four of practices, the permissible number of practices per week shall be reduced to four (4). One of these practices must exclude any full contact. During a bye week, a team may participate in up to five practices, limiting full contact to four (4) practices.

NOTE : It is highly recommended that each team practice NOT LESS than three (3) times per week for the duration of the season to maintain physical conditioning.


Beginning the fourth week of practice, players may participate in three days of full contact each week, excluding games. A maximum of 90 minutes of full contact combined is allowed during these three days. One of four allowed practices for the week must exclude full contact. Full contact is defined as follows:
a) Thud - Drill is run at assigned speed through the moment of contact, no predetermined "winner." Contact remains above the waist, players stay on their feet and a quick whistle ends the drill. This applies to simulations and drills involving any number of players.
b) Live Action - Drill is run in game
like conditions and is the only time that players are taken to the ground. This applies to simulations and drills involving any number of players.


5(a) Participants - Following completion of the regular Kidsports season a scheduled championship event will be held for each league.

5(b) Tie Scores - If a championship game ends in a tie score, the Kidsports Tie Breaker plan will be used to determine the champions.


6(a) 5th & 6th - Teams in this league will use a Junior Size Ball approved by Kidsports. Both striped balls and non-striped balls are legal.

6(b) 7th & 8th - Teams in this league will use an intermediate size ball approved by Kidsports. Both striped and non-striped balls are legal.


7(a) League - A player's league eligibility will be determined by their grade in school in the upcoming fall school year. Kidsports Tackle Football is available to boys or girls entering the 5-8th grade.

7(b) League Assignment - Players will be assigned to one of the respective leagues based on grade and weight as follows:

5th-6th grade - Unlimited play for any 5th-6th graders weighing 130 lbs or less, players over 130 lbs on offense restricted to the interior line.

7th-8th grade - Unlimited play for any 7th-8th graders weighing 170 lbs or less, players over 170 lbs on offense restricted to the interior line.

7(c) Players not falling within the weight categories (ie: heavy players) as listed above will be eligible to play in the Kidsports program on defense or as an offensive interior lineman or they may petition to move up one division, but still follow weight limits in each division. Heavy players will not be allowed to play offensive end. There is no bottom end weight for any division. Light players in the seventh and eighth grades will not be allowed to play down a league. Exceptions must be approved by Kidsports Sports staff.

7(d) Official Weigh-In

1. Each player in the tackle football program must be weighed by a Kidsports staff member at the time of equipment issue and/or registration.

2. The official weigh-in will be taken with the player wearing shorts only and no shoes or shirt. Once the initial qualifying weight has been recorded, a 5 lbs leeway gain will be allowed.

3. Players Official Weight - Shall be the weight that is recorded on a players equipment check-out form. If a player doesn't make weight on their initial try, they can re-weigh as many times as necessary until the deadline. (contact Kidsports for official deadline)

During the season, no player can exceed the maximum weight restriction for their respective league by more than 5 lbs. Kidsports reserves the right to re-weigh any player suspected of being in violation of weight limits. Re-weighs are not automatic at a coach's challenge. (Players who initially meet weight requirements but are found to be in violation of the weight limits after games have begun will be declared ineligible to play any offensive position other than interior lineman until the player meets the weight requirements).

For all players, once they have met their appropriate weight, it will be their official weight for the entire season. A player who is trying to lose or gain weight to become eligible for assignment in a certain league cannot be re-weighed after the official deadline date. If the desired weight has not been met by this deadline, the player must play in the league classification corresponding with their weight as of the deadline date.


8(a) Protective Equipment - All protective equipment will be issued by Kidsports. Individual players may not provide their own protective equipment in lieu of Kidsports issued gear unless specific written permission is granted by Kidsports.

8(b) Jersey Numbers - Any digit is permissible on Kidsports jerseys. Only jerseys issued by Kidsports may be worn unless specific written permission is granted by Kidsports.

8(c) Shoes - Cleated shoes are legal provided it is a shoe with a molded sole and has cleats which do not exceed one-half (1/2) inch in length. Removable cleats are legal provided they meet Kidsports' and High School Federation rules.


9(a) Periods - All games will be played with four (4) ten (10) minute stop clock periods.

9(b) Half-Time Period - After completion of the second period a half time intermission of ten (10) minutes shall be observed with three (3) minutes allowed for warming up prior to starting the third period.

9(c) Time-Outs - Each team may have a maximum of three (3) time-outs per half.

9(d) Tie Games - All regular season games that end with a tie score will continue with a
 Kidsports Tie-Breaker format until a winner has been determined.


10(a) General Rule - Each player must play at least two (2) full quarters on either offense or defense during each game, pre-designated on the line-up cards before the game begins. Each player on your roster must only be listed once on your line-up card and only the player's (2) designated quarters must be marked.

10(b) Each team will be allowed two (2) offensive position (4 players) and (2) defensive position (4 players) as play runners. Play runners in and out of the game must exchange places on every down that the unit is in the game for the entire game (all 4 quarters). This will satisfy the participation requirements for both of these players. Play runners are designated by placing a PR following their name for all four quarters on the line-up card.

10(c) Instructional Substitution - A coach may substitute for a player during that player's designated quarter(s) only one time each quarter for a maximum of two (2) plays. This substitution is intended for the purpose of coaching of the designated player only and should not be used for strategic purposes.

KIDSPORTS playing requirements for minimum playing time are not intended as recommendations for maximum playing time or to limit a player's time due to ability. Do not sacrifice a child's positive experience by not playing that child as much as possible beyond the minimum requirements in every game.

10(d) Penalty - Any time that substitution violations occur, the first step that should be taken is to CORRECT the violation. Plays will not be played over, and the correct players must be placed into the game. Repeat or flagrant violations MAY be penalized by KIDSPORTS with penalties including possible forfeiture of the game or suspension or termination of the coach. All decisions by KIDSPORTS staff as to the penalties for substitution violations will be FINAL. It is important that coaches learn and apply the proper substitution rules.


11(a) Attempts: All conversion tries will be made from the three (3) yard line.

Run: One (1) point will be awarded for a successful conversion by run or pass from the 3 yard line of scrimmage.

Kick: Two (2) points will be awarded for a successful conversion that is kicked from the 3 yard line.


12(a) Smoking will not be allowed by coaches, players, or spectators during Kidsports play, including pre-game and half-time warmup.


13(a) Kidsports will play by High School defensive rules.


14(a) Interior Linemen - Five (5) interior linemen (center, two guards, and two tackles) must adhere to spacing of approximately three (3) feet or less. Stance is optional.

14(b) Ends & Backs - Spacing and stance of ends and backs is optional.

14(c) Tackle Eligible - The tackle-eligible pass play is NOT legal.

14(d) Unbalanced line - The unbalanced line is NOT legal.


15(a) If any player, coach or spectator is removed from the game by disciplinary action of an official or KIDSPORTS staff, said person must leave the playing field. Ejected coaches or spectators may not sit on the team bench or in the stands.

Any player or coach ejected from a game will be suspended from the next scheduled game. Further ejections will result in further suspensions or termination from KIDSPORTS.



Players who do not make the initial weight by the weigh-in date deadline are restricted to the offensive interior line (center, guard, tackle). There are no defensive weight restrictions for playing positions.

5th-6th Grade - Over 130 lbs. restricted to interior lineman offensively.

7th-8th Grade - Over 170 lbs. restricted to interior lineman offensively.


Interior offensive linemen stance is optional.


Kidsports will play by high school defensive rules.


Minimum team size 16, Maximum team size 35. Roster exceptions must be approved by Kidsports.


Each team is allowed 2 offensive position (4 players) and 2 defensive position (4 players) as play runners. Play runners must be designated on the line-up cards for all four quarters. Play Runners must alternate each down their respective units are in the game for all 4 quarters.


All games that end with a tie score will continue with a Kidsports Tie-Breaker Plan until a winner has been determined.


If the point differential of 35 or more occurs at halftime or any time thereafter, a running clock shall be used, kick-offs eliminated and play will begin with the possession of the ball on the 50 yard line. The ball will return to the 50 yard line after each field goal try or point after attempt. The running clock shall be started with the ready-for-play signal from the official. Once the running clock is started, it shall be stopped only for the following reasons:

a) For measurement of a possible first down.

b) For a player who appears to be injured.

c) For unusual heat or humidity which may create a health risk to players.

d) For a one-minute intermission between the third and fourth periods and following a try, successful field goal, or a safety.

e) A team time out is granted.

f) Any unusual circumstances (dog on field, etc)