MONTGOMERY – Houston County (4-0) limited McKenzie to minus 5 yards total offense in its 55-0 Class 1A, Region 2 victory Friday night to land in the AHSAA Spotlight for Week 3 of the 2017 football season.
The victory was the third straight shutout of the season for Coach Mike Atkins and his Lions as Houston County dominated from start to finish.
Defensive coordinator Michael Stevens listed these superlatives. The Lions had 14 plays that resulted in negative yardage for a total of minus-3 yards rushing; limited the Tigers to minus-2 yards passing; allowed only one first down – coming late the fourth quarter; and limited McKenzie to 12 series with three plays and out.
Houston County's Zydarian Brown returned two fumbles for touchdowns, plays covering 20 and 15 yards, and Immanuel Dawsey had a 40-yard interception return for a score as the Lions defense scored three times in the win. The defense came up with six turnovers.
The minus-3 yards rushing allowed ranks ninth best in AHSAA history, according to the AHSAA Record Book online at www.ahsaa.com. The minus-5 yards total offense also is the only game reported where the opposing team finished with negative yards rushing and passing.
Greensboro limited Uniontown to minus-67 yards rushing in 1977 for the AHSAA’s top defensive performance (against the rush).
The third week was highlighted by several strong defensive efforts and some clutch plays that led to milestone wins for several schools.
Highlights reported this week include:
BRENAN ASHMORE, EAST LIMESTONE: The team manager for East Limestone score a touchdown in a pre-arranged play following the 51-26 win over Limestone County rival Ardmore. Ashmore was born with hydrocephalus, a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid accumulates within the brain, and is unable to play sports. Ashmore took a handoff on his special play, went around the right end and crossed the goal line for his touchdown as fan from each side stood in unison to show their appreciation of this extraordinary display of sportsmanship by both teams.
RHETT POWERS, ROGERS: The place-kicker kicked a 27-yard field goal, his first of the season, and also had five extra points, in a 44-7 win over West Limestone. Powers, who has Asperger’s syndrome, has made 21 point-after kicks this season for unbeaten Rogers (3-0) this season.
ETHAN MOORE, WINSTON COUNTY: Was 10-of-15 passing for 135 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 94 yards and another score to lead Winston County past Tanner 32-27. He also added a 69-yard kickoff return for a fourth TD as Yellow Jackets handed the Rattlers their first region defeat since 2009. Tanner had won 54 region games in a row.
ZAE BOYD, LAWRENCE COUNTY: Rushed for one touchdown and also caught a pass for a second score to help the Red Devils beat Russellville 25-6. It was the school’s first win over the Golden Tigers in 72 years. Boyd played at Russellville last season but moved to Lawrence County this year. Quarterback Austin Blankenship also passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another for Lawrence County.
ROBERT HOUSTON, LAFAYETTE: The senior gained 294 yards rushing on just 14 carries and scored five touchdowns as the Bulldogs (3-1) beat Fayetteville 45-7. He now has 3,052 rushing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns for his career. Jartavius Whitlow set the record last year finishing his prep career with 4,025 rushing yards and 48 rushing TDs. Houston had 734 yards through four games this season – 183.5 yards per game.
LOGAN GASKIN, SARDIS: Finished with 157 combined yards and accounted for seven touchdowns in the Lions' 46-27 win over Geraldine. The senior quarterback passed for 78 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 79 yards with three scores.
BOB JONES WINS NO. 75 FOR COACH ROSE: The Patriots beat Sparkman 17-14 to give head coach Kevin Rose his 75th win at Bob Jones. Rose, in his ninth season as head coach, is 75-23 overall at the school with eight straight playoff appearances. He also was head coach at Sheffield for seven seasons where his teams made the playoffs six times and amasses a 43-35 record. He is 118-58.
JOE GREEN, EUFAULA: Scored on an 8-yard run with 12.5 seconds left, giving the Tigers a 28-23 win over (3-1) a 28-23 win over Central-Clay County. Green finished with 100 yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers have now won two straight weeks at the buzzer – beating Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee 29-22 with the tying TD coming with 22 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game. Eufaula then won in overtime.
GUSTAV JENSEN, CHEROKEE COUNTY: The junior foreign-exchange student from Denmark connected on the game-winning 20-yard field goal in overtime, lifting the Warriors to a 15-12 victory over Anniston.
RILEY RUSSELL, CHEROKEE COUNTY: The senior linebacker had a school record 28 tackles to lead the Warriors to a 15-12 victory over Anniston in overtime. He also had four sacks among his stops.
HUNTER MOSLEY, LEXINGTON: Mosley tipped three passes at the line of scrimmage, blocked a field goal and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown and forced a fumble that led to a touchdown in Lexington’s 13-0 win over Clements.
LUKE CASSITY, J.B. PENNINGTON: The junior linebacker had 23 tackles and recovered a fumble in the Tigers' 20-14 win over Locust Fork.
JACOB WALDING, G.W. LONG: Returned a fumble interception for touchdowns in a 47-6 win over Barbour County. The Rebels forced eight Jaguars’ turnovers with Hunter Wofford recovering two fumbles, Kevin Janish, Dane Willis and Austin Johnson also had one each, and Dane Willis had an interception.
TRIKWESE BRIDGES, LANETT: Recorded 12 tackles, caused one fumble and recovered another one as the Panthers beat Vincent 55-14.
CHASE CARDWELL, NEW BROCKTON: Accounted for 12 tackles, including two sacks, as the Gamecocks shut out Zion Chapel 49-0.
DARIEN BOSSIE, PIEDMONT: Intercepted a pass that set up the Bulldogs’ go-ahead score in a 41-31 victory at Randolph County, and teammate Kaedon Jenkins had an interception in the final minute to seal the win.
GABRIEL RUSSELL, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Finished with 18 tackles, three sacks, for losses and 2 forced fumbles in Friday’s 34-0 victory over Wenonah.
BRETT JACKSON, SAND ROCK: Led the Wildcats’ defense with 12 tackles in Sand Rock’s 28-20 victory over Ider.
WES BAUMHOWER, FAIRHOPE: Intercepted Theodore’s first pass attempt of the game and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown as Fairhope posted a 17-14 win over the Bobcats.
B.J. ANDERSON, ANDALUSIA: Had two interceptions on defense and caught three passes for 139 yards and a touchdown on offense as the Bulldogs (3-1) beat UMS-Wright (2-1) in overtime 27-21.
TYREN DUPREE, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Had two interceptions on defense, rushed for 106 yards and a TD and passed for another score on offense as the Warriors nipped Anniston 15-12 in overtime.
LUCKY BOLEN, SPRING GARDEN: Made two interceptions for the Panthers’ defense, returning 11 yards for a touchdown, and Spring Garden beat Woodville 40-0.
KALEB JONES, COLLINSVILLE: Completed 5-of-9 pass attempts for 164 yards and two touchdowns (52 and 60 yards) and rushed for 43 yards and two scores on nine carries in the Panthers’ 41-0 victory over Gaston. He also had one interception on defense.
JAMES FOSTER, SIDNEY LANIER: Completed 13-of-19 passes for 330 yards and six touchdowns in Thursday’s 51-7 victory over Russell County.
RYAN SPARKS, GADSDEN CITY: Was 19-of-31 in passing for 320 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Titans to their first victory of the season, a 38-35 win over James Clemens.
ETHAN WILLIAMS, ANDALUSIA: Was 7-of-15 passing for 189 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 114 yards on 14 carries with another score in Andalusia’s Class 4A, Region 1 27-21 overtime win over UMS-Wright.
BRAXTON BARKER, SPAIN PARK: Complete 22-of-34 passes for 290 yards and two TDs in a 27-24 loss to Hoover.
MAURICE ROBINSON, MURPHY: Passed for 209 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 86 yards and another TD on just two carries in Murphy’s 48-12 win over Mary Montgomery.
PAUL TYSON, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Completed 14-of-15 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns in Hewitt-Trussville’s 49-7 victory over Grissom. He was 12-for-12 in the first half.
BRADY HERRING, REHOBETH: Completed 15-of-25 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns in the Class 5A Rebels' 28-8 win over Booker T. Washington. Three of the TD passes were to Jace Stewart, covering 16, 42 and 62 yards, and the other was a 28-yard connection Preston Peterson.
JALEN PARKER, HOOVER: Was 13-of-21 passing for 227 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 25-yard TD pass with 1:18 remaining, in a 27-24 victory over Spain Park.
JACK WEST, SARALAND: Was 11-of-14 passing for 183 yards and four touchdowns as the Spartans downed Blount 42-14.
KRISTIAN STORY, LANETT: The Panthers’ sophomore quarterback was 8-of-13 passing for 250 yards and four touchdowns as Lanett (4-0) beat Vincent 55-14. He was 16-of-19 for 334 yards and three touchdowns in a 50-6 win over Horseshoe Bend the previous week.
NATHAN TAYLOR, LEROY: Completed 21-of-28 passes for 219 yards and rushed for two TDs in the Bears’ 28-6 win over Citronelle.
LUKE HAMPTON, CEDAR BLUFF: Was 5-of-5 passing for 159 yards and three touchdowns (57, 35 and 2 yards) in a 47-8 win over Gaylesville.
JAYSON JONES, FULTONDALE: Ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns and complete 9-of-14 passes for with 134 passing yards in a 46-21 victory over St. James.
ISAAC HUGULEY, WEST MORGAN: The running back rushed for 308 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries to lead West Morgan to a 45-24 victory over Colbert Heights.
MARVIN MADDOX, W.S. NEAL: Rushed for 257 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries as W.S. Neal beat Satsuma 42-32.
ASA MARTIN, AUSTIN: Rushed for 253 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries and also threw a 56-yard TD pass as the Black Bears defeated Hazel Green to improve to 4-0. The Auburn commitment also had 36 yards receiving on two catches. His scoring runs covered 90, 60 and 56 yards.
DREW SIMSON, NEW BROCKTON: Rushed for 293 yards and four touchdowns on runs of 25, 21, 8 and 3 yards in the Gamecocks' 49-0 win over Zion Chapel.
ARMANI GOODWIN, FLORENCE: The FHS track star had 20 rushing attempts for 243 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-14 victory over Hartselle. His 65-yard run on the game’s third play let to his 1-yard TD run on the next play to set the tone for the night. His 90-yard touchdown run with 5:03 left sealed the Falcons’ win.
CRAIG KINSEY, ABBEVILLE: Picked up 213 yards rushing and scored twice in the Yellow Jackets' 38-14 win over Cottonwood.
TODD HOOVER, GULF SHORES: Had 28 carries for 206 yards and three touchdowns as Gulf Shores snapped a 15-game losing streak with a 37-20 victory over B.C. Rain. Hoover also had three catches for 76 yards.
KOLBE BLUNT, DAVIDSON: Gained 203 yards rushing on 29 carries and scored three touchdowns as Davidson shut out Baker 28-0. DANIEL MITCHELL, ROGERS: The running back rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns on four carries as the Pirates beat West Limestone 44-7. Mitchell scored on runs of 97, 42 and 53 yards.
JONATHAN FELLS, CARROLL: Ran for 203 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries as the Eagles ((3-0) blanked Headland 29-0.
STONE FINCHER, HACKLEBURG: Led the Class 1A Panthers (2-1) to a 48-17 win over Tharptown rushing for 220 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries. His scoring runs were 73, 49 and 54 yards – all three coming in a nine-minute stretch of the second quarter.
CAM BORDEN, WINTERBORO: Rushed for 121 yards on 10 carries with a 50-yard TD and a 61-yard punt return for another score in Winterboro beat Donoho 36-6. Teammate Nyjavion Brown also had 123 yards on 17.
LEE STANLEY, PIEDMONT: Picked up 136 of his game-high 191 yards in the fourth quarter as defending 3A state champion Piedmont beat Randolph County 41-31. He had scoring runs of 38 and 79 yards. The final TD put the Bulldogs ahead for good. Teammate Cardavion Myers added 163 rushing yards and four touchdowns and was 5-of-6 passing for 79 more yards.
B.J. SMITH, VALLEY: The sophomore running back rushed for 194 yards on 28 carries to help the Class 5A Valley beat Cleburne County 13-0 to end a two-year, 11-game losing streak. It was the first win for new head coach Buster Daniel.
NASSIR BOYD, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: Ran 30 times for 186 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-7 victory over Bessemer City.
TY SMITH-LINDSEY, OXFORD: Had 23 carries for 167 yards and three TDs in a 38-14 victory over Cullman.
SHADRICK BYRD, THOMPSON: Carried 14 times for 162 yards and TD runs of 36, 4, 2 and 60 yards in a 40-13 victory over Mountain Brook.
BRYSON PEAVY, ARITON: Caught eight passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in the Purple Cats' 41-20 win over Geneva County.
TORRENCE POLLARD, LEEDS: Caught TD passes of 93 and 15 yards, ran 18 yards for a score and returned an interception for a touchdown in a 42-14 victory over Dadeville.
BRADEN PYRON, MARION COUNTY: Totaled 172 total yards with 95 receiving and 77 rushing and scored two touchdowns in a 44-14 loss to Pickens County. He also kicked two extra points and had an interception on defense for the Red Raiders.
JARROD BARKLEY, COLLINSVILLE: Caught two passes for 112 yards for touchdowns covering 52 and 60 yards in the Panthers’ 41-0 win over Gaston.
LiALLEN DAILEY, PINSON VALLEY: Caught seven passes for 167 yards and two TDs in a 34-32 victory over Clay-Chalkville.
CARSON CARVER, SAND ROCK: Carver’s fake punt on 4th-and-13 at the Wildcats’ 36-yard line with 8:53 remaining in the third quarter proved to be the pivotal play in a 28-20 victory against Ider. Carver ran 64 yards down the right sideline for the go-ahead score. He also caught and scoring passes of 8 and 39 yards. The first game right before halftime, and the last one came with 5:26 left in the fourth quarter.
JALEN EDWARDS, EUFAULA: Blocked a punt in the third quarter, setting up one Tigers touchdown, and Eufaula edged Central-Clay County 28-23.
DYLAN BLOUNT, WICKSBURG: Blocked an Opp punt leading to a 36-yard touchdown scamper by teammate Garren Richards and the Panther shut out Opp 41-0.
MICHAEL MOWRY, ARITON: Returned a kickoff 78 yards for one touchdown and rushed for 94 yards and another TD in Ariton’s 41-20 win over Geneva County.
D.J. HORTON, CEDAR BLUFF: Returned the opening kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown in the Tigers’ 47-8 victory over Gaylesville.
SHEDRICK JACKSON, HOOVER: Broke free of a would-be tackler in the second half and sped 58 yards for a touchdown on punt return to help push Hoover past arch-rival Spain Park 27-24 in the key Class 7A, Region 3 contest.
Great Week Zero story to start our 2017-18 High School sports season off!
North-South all-star squads for the upcoming 58th AHSAA North-South All-Star Football Game have been selected. The two 37-member teams comprised of 2017 seniors were announced by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Tuesday.
The North-South Game will be played Thursday, July 20 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. The annual game will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast by the AHSAA Radio Network.
The game will be the last all-star game of in this year’s AHSAA Summer Conference. The AHSACDA will also host all-star games in baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, and for the first time, cross country.
Head coach for the South is G.W. Long High School’s Scott Horne. North head coach is Parker High School’s Andre Robinson. Horne has a 74-20 career record in eight years as the Rebels’ head coach. His teams have compiled a 55-7 slate averaging 11 wins per season over the last five years. Long has reached the 2A semifinals each of the last two years going 12-1 each year and currently owns a 25-game region winning streak. Robinson, now in his second tenure as Parker’s head coach, is 64-55 overall in 15 years as a head coach. He coached the Thundering Herd from 1997-2003 before becoming a college assistant coach, then returned to the high school ranks in 2013 at Birmingham Carver, then moved back to Parker in 2014 and has guided the Herd to a 22-11 slate the last three years.
Eight players who helped their teams play in state championship games last December have been selected to play in this summer’s game. Named to the South squad are defensive end Carlton Martial and running back Treymarius Roberson of Class 7A runner-up McGill-Toolen Catholic; defensive back Will Boler and linebacker Zach Yancey of Class 6A state runner-up Opelika.
Named to the North squad are defensive back Jamar Richardson of Class 2A runner-up Aliceville; linebackers Jay Brown and Josh Hatcher of Class 4A state champion Handley; and defensive lineman Richardo Palao of Class 7A state champion Hoover.
Coaches named to Robinson’s North staff are Michael Robertson of Hokes Bluff; Bill Smith of Munford; Mark Heaton of Russellville; Richard Dutton of Lawrence County; Kelvis White of Mae Jemison; Scott Sharp of Madison County; and Cedric Brown, the administrative coach, from Southside-Selma.
Named to the Horne’s South staff are Jason Massey of Leroy; Wesley Sims of J.U. Blacksher; Lee Carter of Jeff Davis; Pat Thompson of Sweet Water; Tim Perry of Wetumpka; James Lucas of LaFayette; and Greg Howard of Alabama Christian, the South administrative coach.
The South holds a 30-25-2 edge in the North-South series which began in 1948. The North won 14-0 last year in a game called due to inclement weather in the second quarter.
The AHSADCA operates under the auspices of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Membership includes coaches of all AHSAA sports as well as administrators of member schools.
NORTH ALL-STAR TEAM
Central - Clay County
A. H. Parker (Head Coach)
Southside-Selma (Administrative Coach)
SOUTH ALL-STAR TEAM
Central - Phenix City
Lee - Montgomery
Southside - Selma
B. T. Washington
G. W. Long (Head Coach)
J. U. Blacksher
Alabama Christian (Administrative Coach)
MONTGOMERY, AL – Four teams have been selected for the 12th annual AHSAA Champions Challenge Football Classic Aug. 24-25 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.
The 2016 Champions Challenge, which will kick off the 2017 prep football season, will feature one game at 7 p.m., each night. Defending 1A state champion Maplesville and defending 2A state champion Fyffe will meet in the small-school game on Thursday. Hewitt-Trussville and Pell City will play in the large-school game Friday.
The pairings were announced Tuesday by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), the AHSAA’s coaching organization, which hosts the event each year.
“We are very excited about the two games we have lined up,” Briggs said. “The Fyffe versus Mapleville game pits two schools that were undefeated last season while the big-school game is a clash between two of the state’s up-and-coming programs. Each have storied histories and strong communities that love high school football. We thank the City of Montgomery for all they do to make these games possible each year.”
Both games will be televised live over the Raycom Network in Alabama with WSFA TV 12 as the anchor station. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over its statewide radio network.
Fyffe (15-0), coached by Paul Benefield, beat Aliceville 28-0 in the 2016 Class 2A finals at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It was the Red Devils’ second state championship in the last three years. Fyffe outscored opponents 700-113 with the championship game win the Red Devils’ sixth shutout of the season.
Coach Brent Hubbert’s Maplesville Red Devils (14-0) beat Pickens County 40-12 last December to claim Maplesville’s third straight Class 1A state title and extended Maplesville’s current winning streak to 23 in a row. His team outscored opponents 683-101 in 14 games last season.
Pell City (6-5) reached the Class 6A state playoffs in Coach Keith Etheredge’s first season at the helm in 2016. He moved to Pell City from Leeds where he served as head coach for 10 seasons compiling a 113-39 record and four state championships. Etheredge’s teams have been known for their explosive offenses and smothering defenses.
Floyd finished his third season at Hewitt-Trussville leading the Huskies (11-1) to a perfect 10-0 regular season record for the first time in the school’s 92-year football history. Hewitt-Trussville also won the Class 7A, Region 8 title and outscored opponents 552-289 on the year.
Floyd came to Trussville from Shiloh Christian (Ark.) where he led the school to a 99-21 record over 10 seasons with four state titles in five trips to the Arkansas state high school finals.
The former prep quarterback’s high school coach was current Auburn University Coach Gus Malzahn.
Benefield has s 255-52 career record including 210-41 at Fyffe. Hubbert is 143-23 at Maplesville and 160-38 overall. Ethredge is 113-39 in his 11-year career (107-34 at Leeds) and Floyd is 121-33 overall and 22-12 at Hewitt over the last three seasons.
Andalusia beat Brooks 34-13, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa downed Demopolis 42-7 and Hoover topped Central-Phenix City 23-7 in last year’s Champions’ Challenge.
MONTGOMERY – Piedmont High School head football coach Steve Smith will be the head coach for the Alabama All-Star football squad for the 31st annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game next December. The game will be played at Hattiesburg on the University of Southern Mississippi campus for just the second time in the game’s storied history.
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese made the announcement at the District 6 meeting Monday night held at Jacksonville State University’s Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.
Smith replaces former Opelika High School Coach Brian Blackmon, who stepped down as head coach for the 2017 game after resigning at Opelika and accepting a position with Auburn University’s athletic department as a football analyst last month. Blackmon was announced as head coach in late January.
“I am very honored and humbled,” Smith said. “I really enjoyed my two times in the game as an assistant coach. I am looking forward to this opportunity.”
Smith served as an assistant coach in last year’s game, a 25-14 win over Mississippi at Cramton Bowl and in the 2009 all-star game played at Mobile. Alabama holds a 22-8 edge in the series which began in 1988. However, Mississippi is 1-0 in games played in Mississippi. The All-Star Classic between the two states started a home-and-home rotation in 2015. The first 28 games were played in Alabama.
UMS-Wright’s Terry Curtis was Alabama head coach in 2016. The 2017 game is set for Saturday, Dec. 16.
Smith, was an All-State quarterback graduating in 1987 from Cherokee County High School. He played at Jacksonville State University from 1988-91 and served as a graduate assistant coach on JSU’s 1992 national championship team. He became the head coach at Cedar Bluff High School in 1995 and compiled an 85-45 record over the next 11 seasons. He moved to Piedmont in 2006. His teams won 3A state championships in 2009, 2015 and 2016 — finishing last season with a 25-game winning streak, the longest current football winning streak in the AHSAA.
His Piedmont teams have compiled a 123-23 record overall, including 28-8 in 11 playoff appearances and 71-7 in region games. His teams have gone undefeated or suffered just one loss in region play every season since 2007.
He will be coaching in his third Alabama-Mississippi all-star game. He first coached in 2009 and again last year.
“Coach Smith is one of our state’s most outstanding head coaches,” said Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
The rest of the Alabama All-Star staff for next December’s game will be announced in the near future, Briggs said. The AHSADCA, in conjunction with the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) administers the all-star game each year.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 22, 2017) — New rules on blindside blocking are the most recent steps taken by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee in minimizing the risks associated with the sport.
The establishment of a new definition of a blindside block in Rule 2-3-10 and the addition of Rule 9-4-3n prohibiting a blindside block were two of 11 rules changes recommended by the NFHS Football Rules Committee at its January 20-22 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
“The NFHS Football Rules Committee’s actions this year once again addressed risk minimization, officiating, competitive balance and game administration,” said Bob Colgate, director of sports and sports medicine at the NFHS and staff liaison for football.
The definition of a blindside block established by the committee is “a block against an opponent other than the runner, who does not see the blocker approaching,” and now results in a 15-yard penalty.
The committee stated that the blindside block “involves contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration, is vulnerable to injury. Unless initiated with open hands, it is a foul for excessive and unnecessary contact when the block is forceful and outside of the free-blocking zone.”
“As has been the case for many years, the NFHS Football Rules Committee continued to place their main emphasis on risk minimization,” said Todd Tharp, chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and assistant director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association. “With this new definition of a blindside block and the penalty to be assessed, the committee stresses the importance of proper coaching techniques under the rules and accurate enforcement by the game officials.”
Another significant risk-minimization change was elimination of a pop-up kick in new Rule 6-1-11. A new definition of a pop-up kick in Rule 2-24-10 is defined as “a free kick in which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, the ball strikes the ground once and goes into the air in the manner of a ball kicked directly off the tee.”
The committee implemented this change in an effort to reduce risk of injury due to the increased use of the pop-up kick on onside kickoffs. Such kicks will be penalized as a dead-ball free-kick infraction, as noted with new Rule 6-1-11 PENALTY.
The NFHS Football Rules Committee also expanded Rule 2-32-16 regarding a defenseless player by adding specific examples of a defenseless player. Those examples include, but are not limited to:
a) A player in the act of or just after throwing a pass;
b) A receiver attempting to catch a pass who has not had time to clearly become a runner;
c) The intended receiver of a pass in the action during and immediately following an interception or potential interception;
d) A runner already in the grasp of a tackler and whose forward progress has been stopped;
e) A kickoff or punt returner attempting to catch or recover a kick, or one who has completed a catch or recovery and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a ball carrier;
f) A player on the ground including a ball carrier who has obviously given himself up and is sliding feet-first;
g) A player obviously out of the play or not in the immediate vicinity of the runner; and
h) A player who received a blindside block with forceful contact not initiated with open hands.
“A great deal of time was spent by the committee creating specific criteria to define exactly what a defenseless player is,” Tharp said. “Coaches can use these examples to focus on the proper mechanics of blocking and tackling, and game officials now are able to use this expanded definition to focus on continued risk minimization of the players.”
Changes to Rule 7-1-6 expand on the situations required for encroachment to occur after the ready-for-play and after the snapper has placed his hand(s) on the ball. The rule previously stated that encroachment occurred if “any other player breaks the plane of the neutral zone.” In addition, now defensive players are restricted from contacting the ball prior to the end of the snap or making contact with the snapper’s hand(s) or arm(s) until the snapper has released the ball.
The remaining changes approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee touched on a new ball specification (1-3-1h), uniforms [(1-5-1b(3)], game officials (1-5-4), post-scrimmage kick fouls (2-16-2h), penalty time clock management (3-4-7), prosthetic limbs (4-2-2l) and forward-pass interference (7-5-10), in which the previous foul for non-contact face guarding was eliminated as forward-pass interference.
Regarding the uniform change in Rule 1-5-1b(3), effective with the 2021 season, “the jerseys of the home team shall be a dark color that clearly contrasts to white.”
“The committee revised the rule to provide schools and manufacturers more clarification regarding the game’s current trend of utilizing lighter gray shades,” Colgate said. “The requirement for teams to wear contrasting colors to white is not a new rule, and it is the committee’s expectation that this new clarification will allow changes to be made during normal replacement cycles.”
A complete listing of all rules changes will be available soon on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Football.”
According to the 2015-16 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, football is the most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 1,083,308 participants in 11-player football. Another combined 28,943 boys participated in 6-, 8- and 9-player football. In addition, 2,140 girls participated in one of the four football offerings during the 2015 season.