New High School Football Referee Guide web address!

August 21, 2009

Hello fans and fellow high school football refs – Just wanted to let you know that this blog has officially moved to:

I moved all the content from this site and will continue to update with information and resources for high school football officials so check back often!

Be sure to bookmark the new site and follow along as the 2009 Footbal Season gets started!!!


Sportsmanship – on the field and in the bleachers

August 17, 2009

Wow this is a  tough topic!   It’s unfortunate that we ever have to be “police” on the field – but it does happen.  A game with bad sportsmanship can sometimes make for the worst games to officiate.  I believe that sportsmanship should be a required class for parents, athletes, coaches and officials.   In my opinion playing  and/or winning with respect for yourself and the other team is really how sports should be played.  Behind player safety – sportsmanship is key for officials to monitor.

Sportsmanship should start with

  • players
  • parents
  • coaches

Many times we see and hear coaches and parents pushing the thought that ‘winning is everything’.    I am not saying that this is always the case – but if coaching staff does not control their players when these situations happen, the officials will have to keep a tight lid on this or it will cause issues during a game.  I agree that a team should always try their very best to win each and every time they participate – however having respect for other players is also very important.

Bad sportsmanship is one thing that can cause a game to get out of control.  So as an official it is very important to watch for actions that can lead to issues on the field:

  • Taunting – celebrating after a score or long play
  • Late hits – in or out-of-bound plays – but especially out-of-bounds plays
  • Possible fighting, physical contact or name-calling

Keys for officials

  • Excessive celebration; control this by flagging celebration when it happens.  Flagging it sends a message to players that it will not be tolerated.
  • Out of bounds play:  Communication before the game, and during the game and worked in a wedge.  The back judge is always helping the line judge or head linesman – by angling in to a play to help control any activity on the sidelines; especially when a single player goes into the other sidelines’ bench area – help get the player out of that situation and watch all activity as a group of officials.
  • In bounds play – watch for the late hits and control this right away.  Do not tolerate this ever.  Keeping this controlled can help keep a game in check. Communicate to the captains and  coaches if you have any late hits.  Give a coach a player’s number and ask the captain and coaches to help control their players.
  • Side line warnings – many officials tend to let this go.  If you have a problem with your sideline/coaches – be firm but fair.  Warning  and flagging the sideline early in a game can usually make for a better sideline.
  • Parents out of control.  Wow – toughie – yes parents have the right to ‘get into the game’ and yes we do make mistakes as officials.  But if a parent is way out of control – ask the coach or inform the AD that a parent needs to be controlled or removed.  Do not be afraid to do this.  This is typically not an issue at a varsity game – but at lower level games it can be many times.
  • Lastly – fighting of any kind can never be tolerated.

Hope this information has been helpful.  Feel free to leave a comment or question any time and I’ll get back to you…

Well here’s a 5 yard delay of game penalty until next time.


August 17, 2009


Football Officiating – the basics and some do’s and don’ts

August 13, 2009

The basics high school football rules for football officials, and some do’s and don’ts:

Well first off – this is just my opinion but here are some of the basics that I try to follow.

Player safety – the one thing I consider THE most important.   Always keep an eye out for player safety:

  • Clipping
  • Illegal blocks – chop blocks, block in the back, etc.
  • Face masks/pulling of the helmet openings/or chin strap – with twisting of the helmet
  • Unnecessary roughness – yeah it’s football – but an unnecessary hit to a player totally away from a play or a hit with intent to harm needs to be controlled

Slow down the game – make sure you see what you call.  It’s better to get the call right than to rush it.

Position, position, position – coaches and fans hate when a call is made 30 yards away from a play; and you know what – so do good officials.  Be in the correct position to make a call or to observe the play.   This is easier said than done and takes practice and good field mechanics.  KNOW WHERE YOU BELONG – AND BE THERE.

Communication – solid communication with your other officials is extremely important.  This starts with a pre-game dialogue. Talk about key aspects of the game, kicking game – position duties during kickoff and scrimmage kicks, measurements,etc.  just to name a few.

Whistle in Your Mouth? Do not officiate with a whistle in your mouth – chances are this is going to get you into trouble sooner or later by blowing an inadvertent whistle and if you do – own it, get over it, and learn from it.   It happens at all levels!

Read and study the rules – just about every chance you get.  It’s every official’s job to know the rules – not just the referee or umpire.   Sooner or later when communicating a call with the other officials you may be asked for clarification.  And sooner or later if you do this long enough your position is going to change – you may find yourself as the referee (white hat) one day.  Know the rules and learn them.  I will start covering some of the key rules in a future posting.

Lastly – have fun, an open mind, and always learn from what  you did during the game.  Keep a journal of what happened during each game, and set goals for yourself!

If you have other do’s and don’ts you’d like to add, feel free to leave a comment below.

Here’s a five yard delay-of-game penalty until we meet again!