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Five Official Field Positions For High School Football Kickoffs

I am often asked to explain the field positions for a five official high school football game.
  For your reference, here are the five official field positions for kickoffs.
  Referee
  • Positioned adjacent to the receiving team's goal line
  • On the linesman's side line
  • Near the inbounds line
  • Counts all receiving team players
  • Awaits the ready signal from all other officials (this is typically an arm held straight up)
  • Blows whistle  to signal the ball is ready for play and that the kickoff can proceed
  • Gives clock start signal upon touching of the ball by the receiving team if observed
  • Ready to signal on a touchback
  • Ready to throw flag if kick goes out of bounds and untouched by the receivers
  • Bean bag location of catch (may be needed if player's momentum takes them into the end zone)
Umpire
  • Positioned on the receiving team's 20 yard line
  • On the line judge's sideline (typically the home team side)
  • Out of bounds
  • Counts all receiving team players
  • Responsible for making certain that coaches, players and others are in their proper locations on their sideline
  • Hold arm above head when ready to signal to the Referee - ready for the kickoff whistle
  • Bean bag in hand ready for spot if last touched inbounds by the receivers
  • Ready to throw flag if kick goes out of bounds and untouched by the receivers
  • Watches players - not the flight of the ball
  • If touching by the receivers is in the area then gives clock start signal
  • Provides player coverage, watching action and providing cleanup around and behind the runner
  • Picks up action of the runner and follows as needed
Linesman
  • Positioned on the receiving team's 30 yard line
  • On their  sideline (typically the visiting team side)- with the chain crew
  • Out of bounds
  • Counts all receiving team players
  • Responsible for making certain that coaches, players and others are in their proper locations on their sideline
  • Hold arm above head when ready to signal to the Referee - ready for the kickoff whistle
  • Bean bag in hand ready for spot if last touched inbounds by the receivers
  • Ready to throw flag if kick goes out of bounds and untouched by the receivers
  • Watches players not the flight of the ball
  • If touching by the receivers is in the area then gives clock start signal
  • Provides player coverage, watching action and providing cleanup around and behind the runner
  • Picks up action of the runner and follows as needed
Line Judge
  • Positioned on the receivers' free kick line - 50 yard line
  • Opposite the linesman
  • Out of bounds
  • Counts all receiving team players
  • Responsible for making certain that coaches, players and others are in their proper locations on their sideline
  • Hold arm above head when ready to signal to the Referee - ready for the kickoff whistle
  • Bean bag in hand ready for spot if last touched inbounds by the receivers
  • Ready to throw flag if kick goes out of bounds and untouched by the receivers
  • Observe infractions involving receivers free-kick line
  • Watch for first touching by the kicking team
  • Watch players not the flight of the ball
  • Watch for illegal blocks
  • If touching by the receivers is in the area then gives clock start signal
  • Provides player coverage and watches action
  • Picks up action of the runner and follows as needed
  • If ball action becomes dead in area, blow whistle and kill clock
Back Judge
  • Initially controls the ball
  • Hands the ball to the kicker
  • Communicates to the kicker each time for potential onsides kicks
  • Counts all kicking team players
  • Gives predefined signal to crew if onsides
  • Moves to position on the kickers' free kick line - 40 yard line
  • Same side as the linesman
  • Out of bounds
  • Responsible for making certain that coaches, players and others are in their proper locations on their sideline
  • Observes kicking line for infractions
  • Hold arm above head when ready to signal to the Referee - ready for the kickoff whistle
  • Bean bag in hand ready for spot if last touched inbounds by the receivers
  • Ready to throw flag if kick goes out of bounds and untouched by the receivers
  • Watch for first touching by the kicking team
  • Watch players and  the flight of the ball - until ball is out of zone
  • Watch for illegal blocks
  • If touching by the receivers is in the area- gives clock start signal
  • Provides player coverage and watches action
  • Picks up action of the runner and follows as needed if on a long return
  • If ball action becomes dead in area, sees the ball and then blows whistle and kills the clock
Hope you find this information useful and, as always, check out my blog at http://www.
thefootballreferee.
com
for more interesting articles about high school football officiating.

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