High School Sports

WEEK 7: Making the Call

Question: Some NFL and college coaches have attempted to freeze kickers by calling timeouts right before the snap of a crucial field goal attempt. Sometimes the timeout has been called so late that the play actually appears to go off, only to have it waved off because the timeout was called. What are the high school rules pertaining to who can call timeouts and when?

In high school games a timeout may be called by one of eleven players on the field or by the head coach. Successive timeouts by the same team or one team followed by another are permissible as long as the teams have timeouts remaining. Teams also can carry over any unused second half timeouts when going into overtime. In addition, each team is allowed one additional timeout during each overtime period.

Under NCAA rules, teams cannot call consecutive timeouts during the same dead ball, and any extra timeouts that have not been used do not carry over to overtime.

In the situation referred to from the NFL and NCAA, the same option to the coaching staff is allowed under high school rules. A coach can request a timeout at the last second as long as the request comes before the ball is legally snapped. This process could be repeated as many times as the team might have timeouts left to use.

At the high school level, it usually isn’t as critical to play mental games so close to the snap as it is to simply try to “ice” the kicker — making him think about the importance of the situation. However, under high school rules it is possible to interrupt the kicker even more, due to the rule allowing a team to call timeouts consecutively.