Appalacian Youth Football League

'helping to build a better future for the youth of today'
Your Subtitle text

AYFL Rules & Regulations

Amended February, 2012.
Updated 5-21-18



(Appalachian Youth Football League Inc.)

                FOUNDED, FALL 2008

Rules and Regulations      


The intent of the Appalachian Youth Football League (AYFL) is to both; spread interest in football and cheerleading to the youth of the respective Districts, and to teach the importance of teamwork, fundamentals, and sportsmanship. The Rules and Regulations outlined in this document were also written with that intent.

I.   Structure


  1. The AYFL Structure

The structure of the AYFL is as follows:

1ST & 2nd grade…flag

3rd & 4th grade…full uniform tackle

5th & 6th grade…full uniform tackle


  1. AYFL Board of Directors


The AYFL Board of Directors  will consist of the President (#1) of each current participating membership team.  The Board will be solely responsible for carrying out AYFL policy and rules amendments,  as that Board deems necessary. Each team will also select a Vice-President (#2), and an alternate (#3).  Board meetings will be held monthly from January to August. One season closing meeting will be held in November, after the completion of the season. 

     Motions may be made by either of the two (2) Board members (per team) present at the current meeting.  One vote will be awarded each participating team in relation to the current topic.  A maximum of two members of each of the team’s representatives are permitted to participate in discussions at the meetings; they then, can take the information back to their perspective groups.  Attendance for each meeting is mandatory.  If a Board member or his / her representative fails to attend two consecutive regular scheduled meetings, that team will not be allowed to vote at the next scheduled meeting.  If three consecutive meetings are missed, that team will not be given a vote for the remainder of the year. Each year, a secretary will be elected. The secretary will be responsible for recording meeting minutes and votes, typing and copying the same, and distributing them at the next monthly meeting.


  1. Coaches and Advisors


Head Coaches and Cheerleading Advisors will be chosen according to the rules of the individual, participant AYFL League team.  Head coaches and advisors will select their assistant coaches.  A team's coaching staff is in complete charge of the team whenever it is together on the practice or playing field, traveling as a group to and from practice sessions and games, or together for any team function. The coaching staff is under direction of the Head Coach; other coaches are called Assistant Coaches. The following applies to all coaches:


1.  A head coach must be at least 21 years of age.

2.  Assistant Coach must be of a responsible age or a high school graduate.

3.  Although, there is no limit of coaches for practices, there will be a maximum of 7 coaches (this includes stats and equipment personnel) permitted on the sidelines for live exceptions.

4.  Teams are permitted to carry a Coach-Trainee, who must be 16 years of age or older.

5.  The Head Coach will determine the assignments of the assistant coaches.

6.   Any violation of the AYFL rules committed by a coach during the season is subject to immediate review and action by the Board.

7.  Coaches do not make the team or AYFL policy. Rather they carry it out. However, on the playing and practice fields, the coaching staff is in complete charge and shall not be interfered with except in cases of rule violations and any other conduct deemed by higher authority to be contrary to the welfare of the youth.

8.  The Head Coach has final responsibility for his actions, those of his Assistant Coaches, players, staff, and the associated fans.

9.  Each participant team shall establish its own rules regarding the placing of coaches with sons, daughters, or siblings.

10.  All head coaches/ advisor, assistant coaches, coach trainees and other individuals providing assistance to a team or squad of legal age, shall submit a complete PA child Abuse History Clearance Form(DPW Child Abuse) & Request for Criminal Record Check (SP4-164) to the Board on an annual basis.  All fees associated with the background check shall be paid by the individual wishing to coach or volunteer.  At any given time, any team President must be able to produce a copy of both forms to the AYFL for any coach in question.   No forms, no coaching.


  1. Participants (players and Cheerleaders)


A candidate may not begin practice with a team or squad until he / she has registered with the participant team (school).  The participant team will determine registration dates.


The candidate must furnish the following at the registration:

-Parental Consent: A written statement from either parent or legal guardian, stating the child has his / her permission to play and also, disclosing any knowing medical restrictions the child has. The participating team shall supply this form.

-Proof of Age: When applicable, a certified copy of the child's birth certificate may be required.

-Physical: It will be the decision of each individual team to require, administer, and record doctor physicals.


II.  Rules Enforcement Policy


        A.  AYFL Board members will be called upon to do the following:


1. Resolve disputes between teams, coaches, and individuals (including spectators)

2. Take action to enforce all league rules and regulations

3. Discipline both adult and juvenile offenders


      Any such rules infraction which occurs during the season must be reported within 7 days.  It will be acted upon as soon as possible, but in no case later than 14 days. During a rules enforcement meeting, the Board member claiming a rules infraction, must clearly state which rule, and describe the incident, in detail.

(Only a Board member may call rules enforcement meetings.)

      The remaining Board members, if witness to the incident, may provide their testimony. If found guilty, the person / child will be penalized as follows:


A.  Adult Offenses:

  1.  Run-up the score: A finding of "guilty" shall result in probation for the next game.  If the conduct was to be found intentional, a one game suspension shall be the penalty. If this becomes repetitive, removal from the league will result.

 2.  Endangerment of Juveniles: A 1-year suspension and repeated offenses will result from permanent suspension from the league.
      Coach use of profanity:    Ejection from current game, one game suspension to be withheld upon next scheduled game.   
                                           Repeat offender A 1-year suspension from league

  4.  Fighting, cheating, and threats: A 1-year suspension to permanent suspension upon repeated offense.

  5.  Gambling on outcome of game: A 1-year suspension from league.

  6.  Lack of cooperation/obstruction: A 1-year suspension from league.

  7.  Violation of Mandatory Play Rule: Justification must be made, i.e. parental discretion, player discretion, injury or illness of player. If a kid refuses to play for any reason or there is a safety concern the kid and coach must meet with opposing head coach before the game or at halftime only. If not discussed at this time the mandatory play rule is in effect for all.
       If a team does not meet expectations of the Mandatory Play Rule or is accused of not meeting criteria, League Board Vote will determine possible forfeiture by violating team. Violation must be reported within one week of the violation for Board review. If not done in this time frame all accusations will be discarded.

  8.  Conduct detrimental to the purpose of the AYFL: A 1-year suspension, to permanent suspension upon repeated offense.
  9.  If a coach is Ejected from a game they must serve a 1-game suspension the next scheduled game. If ejected from final game of the season, suspension will be assessed the first scheduled game of the next season.


B.  Juvenile Offenses:

     Fighting, intimidation, or disrespect for all participants of the game: one game suspension for the first offense; two game suspension for the second offense; suspension from the league for the balance of the season, for the third offense.

    If an athlete is Ejected from a game they must serve a 1-game suspension the next scheduled game. If ejected from final game of the season, suspension will be assessed the first scheduled game of the next season.


C.  Team and Participant League (school) Offences:


       1.  Failure to keep faith with juveniles and parents:


Defined as any deliberate practice of a team or the participant league which placed the health, welfare, and/or safety of juveniles in jeopardy, or exploits to treat them in such a manner that the juvenile becomes a "tool" to them.


To file this charge, the violation must result from another team or participant leagues account, and not be an aberration of one individual. This implies that the practice is carried out by order of, or with, knowledge of the officer ship and no steps are taken to end it. 


MINIMUM PENALTY: Probation of the league coupled with permanent suspension of its president and all others who participated in the practice. Upon a second offense, suspension of the remaining officers will occur and new officers will be elected.


      2.  Fighting / Rioting / Incitement of Riot: Game-related:


Forfeiture of the game for the first offense, forfeiture of the season for the second offense, (within the same season). Scrimmage-related: The scrimmage will be ended at this point and the team(s) at fault will be on suspension for the first game or any succeeding game following the scrimmage.


 I.Formation of Teams and Rosters

      Each participant League's directors will conduct the formation of teams and squads. Once the teams are formed, rosters will be produced. Rosters will be documented in an acceptable (excel) format and submitted to the AYFL directors.

      Once a child is placed on a team / squad, he / she must retain eligibility throughout the season, by meeting the following requirements:

1.  Parental Consent

2.  Good physical Condition

3.  Scholastic standards set by the team. Coaches should emphasize school work comes before football. Each school District should emphasize this with coaches and parents.



         A.   AYFL Tackle Football Divisions


          Teams will be formed based upon two divisions of competition:

          Division 1 (Majors) - 5th and 6th Grade full pad tackle…no weight maximum

          Division 2 (Minors) - 3rd and 4th Grade full pad tackle…maximum 150lbs.

                                 If a Div. 2 child exceeds 150lbs., that child must move up to Div. 1.

                                 Parental consent is required.


          (Division 3, Flag, Minors-1st & 2nd Grade flag only) SEE AYFL FLAG RULES & REGULATIONS


 A child that has failed a grade (once), or has been held back (once) is eligible to play in his / her current grade's Division.  If a child has failed or is held back more than 1 year, the child must play within his / her age group.


If a participant league will have multiple teams playing in a particular Division, that participant

League's directors will be responsible for distributing (to the best of their knowledge) the more talented players as evenly as possible.  (For example, if a participant league will form two teams in Division 1, and there are two eligible players known to be exceptional ball-carriers, those players are to be placed on separate teams). The same should be followed for all playing positions. Players wanting to participate on a team within the League must be from that school district, (e.g., school district the household taxes are paid to). If any exceptions arise, it will be the decision of the board of directors of the league for resolution.


          B.  Weight Restrictions

      There will be a weight restriction placed on any player who will carry the ball. This rule will apply for scrimmages and games.  A ball carrier shall be defined as a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, offensive end, and kick returner.


            The weights for carrying the ball are as follows:

 Division 1 (5th to 6th Grade) -    up to 125.9 lbs. is an eligible ball carrier

                                                         126.0lbs. and over will be a striped player

 Division 2 (3rd to 4th Grade) -    up to 90.9 lbs. is an eligible ball carrier

                                                        91.0lbs. and over will be a striped player




Those players weighing more than the allowed maximum ball carrying weight (otherwise known as 'stripers'), will be required to have a stripe placed on their helmet from just above the facemask to the back of the helmet. The marking may be made of any durable, adhesive tape, but must be a contrasting color to the helmet color. A striped player will be permitted to line up and play, on the line of scrimmage, in a three point stance only, for both offense and defense. If participating in Kick Return they must be on frontline only.  This rule was amended for the safety of all players.

Stripe Player Rule Enforcement
Any violation of Stripe Player Rule will result in a penalty. 1st offense will be 5yd penalty, any violation after is 15yd personal foul. A single player with 2 personal fouls in a game will be ejected and suspended for next game.



          C.  Season Weigh-In


     There will be only one season weigh-in, which will take place before the start of the season. It is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to establish the dates of the weigh-ins and co-ordinate the efforts to maintain an organized endeavor.  Each year, the planning will be revisited to obtain organized results.

     If, for a legitimate reason, a player must miss their team weigh-in, they may attend any scheduled teams weigh-in or it will be the responsibility of that team to get that player weighed in at the very next game attended.

     Immediately upon completion, all rosters must be turned in to the league so they can be checked and distributed back out to all the teams.  Failure to do so in a timely manner will result in....



III. Games


  1. Game Schedule

The schedule of games for the season shall be produced by the AYFL Board. Each participant league shall secure its own field for home games. Games will be held on Saturdays and/or Sundays throughout the season. It is the responsibility of the League to co-ordinate the completed schedule and distribute in a timely manner so all related parties can make necessary arrangements.  Make-up games must be made up during the week and must be completed by the Wed following the last scheduled game of the season to allow for playoff scheduling. Make up games must be scheduled in advance with the President of the League so that Refs can be scheduled. If a team or teams cannot compromise and make up game, forfeiture of the game will occur. However, if after completion of the season, teams wish to play additional inter-league games, they must follow standard AYFL rules & regulations.  If a team wishes to engage in intra-league games, they must follow the AYFL rules and regulations stated in section   ‘III. Games…E. Intra-League play’


B.  Game Field Requirements

The following will be required, for participant leagues hosting scheduled or additional games:

1.  All admission fees are as follows…Adults-$2.00…Students-$1.00…under 12-free.


2.  The home team is required to have medical coverage present at all games. In the absence of a physician and / or ambulance on site, the minimum safety requirement is a certified EMT.  It is the home teams responsibility to ensure ALL game participants are made aware of that particular medical personnel.   All coaches are required to carry all needed medical forms in the coach's notebook.


3.  The game field dimensions shall be that of a standard PIAA football field


4.  The home team shall furnish the game ball, although the visiting team may opt to use their team ball. In each case, the ball used must be a Wilson "TDJ" model *ONLY*.


5.  Once the season schedule is established, the board will make all referee arrangements thus eliminating any confusion among the teams. The referees shall be PIAA- certified, and must have a clear understanding of the AYFL Rules of Play. The referees shall have complete control of the game and shall exercise appropriate action on any coach, player or spectator who disrupts the play of the game.  It is the responsibility of the home team  to compensate the referees for their services in the amount of $55.00 per game and complimentary concessions (free food).


C.  Rules of Play are to follow those listed under the AYFL Rules And Regulations for the  current calendar year and PIAA rules as follows:

1.  Required Equipment according to current AYFL & PIAA rules.

2.  Player designation according to current AYFL & PIAA rules.  During a game where a PA system is used, a player committing a foul shall not have his number announced.

3.  Forfeit; Teams with low #’s will not be forced to forfeit a game as long as they can field at least 9 players at all times. A forfeit will occur if at any time in the game only 8 players are available to play. (Game may resume with 8 or less if agreed by both teams but forfeit will remain in effect. If a team knows they will be short players they must let the opposing team know a week in advance to prepare. When low #’s occur, adjustments on the field will be with the line man. Example, a 10 player team will have 6 on the line as a 9 player team will have 5 on the line.
  The game must be played with an equal  numbers of players at all times, for example (10 on 10, 9 on 9, etc.) NO EXCEPTIONS.

4.  Mandatory Play Rule is as follows:

  • 25 and under - 8 plays/player
  • 26-& over - 6 plays/player

The numbers may be increased based on the number of eligible players at a time prior to the game.

  All players play count should be recorded by a designated team statistician.


           a. Special Teams plays will count as actual plays for the Mandatory Play Rule. All players shall be provided their mandatory plays by participation in the "active" plays, without the intent to minimize the action or integrity of the plays. Plays such as, but not limited to, having the center snap the ball to the quarterback, and then he falls to the ground, while substitutes are playing the other positions, shall not be considered as active plays.

          b. If a child does not attend practice during the week, it is up to each individual team to decide disciplinary actions, if any.  If the team decides not to play the child for the full number of Mandatory Plays because of unauthorized absenteeism, the coach must inform the opposing team before the game begins.

 5.  Radios and Communication Devices:

        No radios or other communication devices, shall be allowed during the game, by any team.

 6.  Length of Periods and Intermissions

     A game will consist of four 10 - minute quarters with stand clock management according to PIAA rules. Halftime will last 10 minutes.

7.  Ball Carriers

        Any designated ball carrier must meet the weight restrictions described in Section IV. Those which do not meet the weight restriction cannot carry the ball. Should an ineligible player possess the ball (by recovering a fumble, intercepting a pass, receiving a kick, etc.) at any time of the game, the play will be blown dead at the spot of possession. Tight Ends may be striped players, but they are not permitted to run or catch the ball. Striped players may recover a fumble but not advance the ball. If a striped player possesses the ball as a result of a designed play, then a penalty will be assessed for an ineligible receiver.

8.  Scoring Values

        The following point values will be used for the games:

  •  Touchdown- 6 points
  •  Field Goal- 3 points
  •  Safety- 2 Points
  •  Touchdown Conversion from the 3-yard line- 2 points
  •  Touchdown Conversion by kick - 1 point

 9.  Kick-offs and Punts

     The ball will be kicked off from the 40-yard line in both Division 1 and Division II games.

      When a team makes the decision to punt, they must immediately inform the referee and the opposing team as to their decision.

     Punts will be handled as follows:

     Minors…when a team has decided to punt the ball, the referees will be place the ball down field 30 yards from the line of scrimmage on that 3rd down-not to exceed the 20 yard line.

     Majors…punts shall be handled as within standard PIAA rules (running clock) with one exception...NO RUSH until the ball is touched by the receiving team.


A dropped snap by the punter will not be considered a fumble. As previously stated, play will not begin until the ball is punted.



 There will also be no rush for kicked extra points and field goals. The defense must stand still, but are allowed to raise their hands over their heads.

 10.  Defensive Restrictions

     There will be no restrictions on defensive schemes at this time although, the AYFL board reserves the right to visit this rule at any time deemed necessary.  See: 'weight restrictions' for defensive line-up rules.

11.  Fumble Rules

All fumbles are live until possession is gained and the ball is blown dead.  Fumbles may be advanced, unless possession is obtained by in ineligible ball-carrier, in which case, play will be blown dead at the spot of possession.

12.  Game Score

       The score of the game will be kept either, on the field or through a scoreboard.

 Mercy Rule - Any time team A is ahead of team B by 28 points or more, play will continue as  normal with a continuous running clock.


      In the case of an end of game tie score, there will be an overtime. PIAA OVERTIME RULES WILL BE IN AFFECT.


An overtime period is un-timed play after a regulation Contest has ended with the score tied. During an overtime period each Team has an opportunity for an offensive series of downs. However, an overtime period may include only one offensive series of downs if the defensive Team scores a safety or touchdown.

3-1: When the score is tied at the end of the 4th period, the referee will instruct both Teams to return to their respective Team boxes. There will be a 3-minute intermission during which both Teams may confer with their coaches. All officials will assemble at the 50-yard line, review the overtime procedure, determine the number of the 2nd half timeouts remaining for each Team, and discuss how penalties, if any, including any carryover penalties from the regulation Contest will be assessed to start the overtime procedure.  At the end of the intermission, the linesman will go to the Team on the side of the field where the line-to-gain equipment is located and the line judge will go to the other Team.  They will inform the coaches of the number of time-outs each Team has remaining and any special penalty enforcement that apply.

3-2-1: At the coin toss in the center of the field the visiting-Team’s captain(s) shall be given the privilege of calling the coin while it is in the air. The winner of the toss shall be given his choice of defense or offense first, or of designating the end of the field at which the ball will be put in play for this set of downs. The loser will have his choice of

the other options. The referee will indicate the winner of the toss by placing a hand on his shoulder. To indicate which Team will go on offense, the referee will have that captain face the goal toward which his Team will advance and indicate this with the first-down signal. The other Team captain will face the offensive captain with his back toward the goal he will defend.

3-5-1: Each Team shall be permitted one additional time-out during each overtime period (a series for A and a series for B) plus any unused second-half regulation Contest time-outs. The Team scoring the greater number of points in the overtime shall be declared the winner. The final score shall be determined by totaling all points scored by each Team during both regulation time and overtime periods.

5-1-1: To start the overtime, the offensive Team shall put the ball in play, first and goal, on the defensive Team’s 10-yard line or succeeding spot if carry-over penalty has been administered anywhere between the inbounds lines. The first offensive Team shall have a series of four downs.  That series shall be terminated by any score by the offensive Team or if the defensive Team has possession of the ball.  If the Team on offense scores a touchdown, it is entitled to the opportunity for a try unless the points would not affect the outcome of the Contest or playoff qualifying.  A field-goal attempt is permitted during any down. If the defensive Team gains possession, the ball becomes dead immediately and the offensive Team’s series of downs is ended.  After the first Team on offense has completed its series of downs, the first Team on defense will become the offensive Team with the ball in its possession at the same 10-yard line anywhere between the inbounds lines. The same end of the field will be used for possessions by both Teams during the two sets of downs to ensure equal Contest conditions and conserve time.  If the score remains tied after each Team has been given one series of downs in an overtime period, then the procedure shall be repeated with other overtime periods until a Contest winner is determined. In this case, there shall be an intermission of two minutes.  At the subsequent meeting of Team captains the loser of the overtime coin toss will be given first choice of the options. If additional overtime periods are required, then first options will be alternated with no coin toss.

5-1-2: If a safety is scored by the offensive Team, the succeeding spot will be the 10-yard line in possession of the Team that was on defense, provided the defensive Team has not had its series of downs (the temporary overtime score is: Team A-2; Team B-0).  When the defensive Team gains possession of the ball, the down and series immediately end for the offensive Team.

5-2-1: The offensive Team shall be awarded a new series of downs when any one of the following occurs:

  1. Penalty for defensive pass interference is accepted.
  2. Offensive Team recovers a scrimmage kick (field-goal attempt) between the goal lines after it has been touched first by the defensive Team beyond the neutral zone.
  3. Defensive Team is guilty of roughing the kicker, place-kick holder, snapper, or passer.

5-3-1: The line-to-gain is always the goal line.

8-1: If the defensive Team scores a safety or touchdown, the Contest is ended.

D.  Records  

Team records of wins, losses, and points, will be kept during the season. AYFL Policy stresses the importance of teaching teamwork, fundamentals and sportsmanship. The AYFL will award an annual traveling trophy in the Majors & Minors Division only to the team that wins the Championship game. A one week playoff will be held the week immediately following the end of the regular season to determine representatives in the Championship game.The Two top teams in the North will play one another/ The Two top teams in the South will play one another. Better overall record determines Home field advantage, if their field is not available home field is granted to their opponent. If regular season records are the same tie breakers will come into effect. 




E.  Intra-League play

            The rules of engaging in intra-league play are as follows:

1. All players must be of the same grade (5th vs. 5th, 6th vs. 6th)…no exceptions

2. All games may only be played at the conclusion of the current AYFL schedule

3. All games must be played by the rules of the AYFL only

4. All games must be played at the AYFL team’s home field

5. All visiting non-AYFL teams MUST provide a current certificate of insurance

6. All games must be pre-approved by the AYFL Board of Directors

7. There must be an ambulance or at a minimum, a trained paramedic on site


F.  Scrimmages

The rules of entering into scrimmages are as follows:

1. (5th & 6th vs. 5th & 6th) (3rd & 4th vs. 3rd & 4th) ONLY no exceptions 

2. No referees

3. 10 offensive/10 defensive plays 

4. All non-AYFL teams MUST provide proof of insurance

5. Immediate whistles

6. NO scoring or record keeping

7. There must be an ambulance or at a minimum, a trained paramedic on site


     NOTE: Coaches, use your head, this is only a scrimmage



Website Builder