Tackle Football Rules

General Rules

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.

  1. GAMES (Artificial Turf Field Rules)
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Players Needed to Start Game – 5th-6th Grade (A minimum of six (6) players must be present and ready to play at the scheduled game time), 7th-8th Grade (A minimum of ten (10) players must be present and ready to play at the scheduled game time).
      1. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    1. 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:
      1. CHURCHILL AREA – ATA/ Kennedy/WCS
      2. MARIST AREA – St. Paul/O’Hara
      3. NORTH EUGENE AREA – Madison/Kelly
      4. SOUTH EUGENE AREA – Roosevelt/Spencer Butte/O’Hara
      5. SHELDON AREA – Cal Young/Monroe/St. Paul
      6. SPRINGFIELD AREA – Springfield/Briggs/Hamlin/Agnes Stewart
      7. THURSTON AREA – Briggs/Thurston/Agnes Stewart
      8. WILLAMETTE AREA – Cascade/Shasta/Meadow View/PMS
      9. PLEASANT HILL – Pleasant Hill
      10. All other teams will be considered out-of-district teams.
    2. The Kidsports Tackle Football Program consists of two separate leagues (5th-6th grade, and 7th-8th grade). Weight/ age/ grade requirements are found under Eligibility and Weight Requirements below.
    1. 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.
    1. Supervision – A registered and assigned coach is required to be in attendance for the duration of any practice or game session.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
      1. 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:
      1. 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.
      2. Live Action – Drill is run in gameā€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.
    1. Participants – Following completion of the regular Kidsports season a scheduled championship event will be held for each league.
    2. Tie Scores – If a championship game ends in a tie score, the Kidsports Tie Breaker plan will be used to determine the champions.
    1. 5th & 6th – Teams in this league will use a Junior Size Ball approved by Kidsports. Both striped balls and non-striped balls are legal.
    2. 7th & 8th – Teams in this league will use an intermediate size ball approved by Kidsports. Both striped and non-striped balls are legal.
    1. 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.
    2. League Assignment – Players will be assigned to one of the respective leagues based on grade and weight as follows:
      1. 5th-6th grade – Unlimited play for any 5th-6th graders weighing 130 lbs or less, players over 130 lbs are restricted to a total of 2 quarters at offensive skill positions (QB, RB, WR).
      2. 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.
    3. 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. 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.
    4. 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)
      4. 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).
      5. 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.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    1. Smoking will not be allowed by coaches, players, or spectators during Kidsports play, including pre-game and half-time warmup.
    1. 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.
    2. Any player or coach ejected from a game will be suspended from the next scheduled game. Further ejections will result in further suspensions