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2023 Rules & Regulations


  1. The City of Barnwell Parks and Recreation Department will attempt to have an employee at each facility for all games. 
    • If there is any kind of concern, issue, injury, or need of immediate assistance please inform the City of Barnwell staff.
  2. Protests are not permitted!

Any flag football ruling or regulation that is not altered or covered by the following BPRD Rules and Regulations will be governed by the current NFL FLAG rules.

All rules will remain in effect and unchanged unless there is an official notice from the City of Barnwell Parks and Recreation staff.  Application of these rules during games is at the sole discretion of the referee. 


Age groups are broken down in the following divisions. Leagues, number of teams, players per team, and minimum number of players to start a game are all determined by number of registrants per season; therefore, could be subject to change. 



# Players on Field

Min # to start

Size Ball


4-6 years old

5 + Coach QB


NFL PeeWee


7-8 years old

6 or 7


NFL PeeWee







  • Players’ uniforms will be given out to coaches prior to the first game.
  • Players are allowed to wear sweatshirts (no hoodies) and/or sweatpants as needed but jerseys MUST be worn on TOP of any additional clothing.
  • All shirts and jerseys must be tucked into pants and cannot impede pulling of flags.
  • Shorts or pants with belt loops are not allowed.
  • NO jewelry is allowed to be worn during football games – bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc.
    • Only EXPECPTION:  Medical bracelets
  • Tennis shoes or molded rubber cleats are allowed.  Steel cleats or cleats with steel tips are prohibited.
  • Players will not be allowed to participate with ANY sort of cast or splint including soft, hard, or padded. 
    • Exception:  Approval must be obtained through BPRD prior to any participation including practices. Written documentation such as form signed and released from a physician, signed BPRD waiver legal document, etc. must be accompanied with any request.
  • ALL players are encouraged to wear mouth guards.



  • Protests are not allowed.
  • Games are played to 40 minutes running time.  Two - 20 minute halves with a 3 minute half time. (Half-time may be shortened at the official’s discretion if the game is running behind). Teams switch ends of field after halftime.
  • Home team determines first possession.  The team that is on defense at the start of the game will have possession starting the 2nd half.
  • The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 5-yard line and has four (4) plays to cross midfield. Once a team crosses midfield, it has four (4) plays to score a touchdown.
  • On 4th down attempt, if an attempt is made on 4th down and is unsuccessful the other team gets possession at their own 5 yard line
  • Interceptions may be returned.  All possession changes, except interceptions, start on the offense’s 5 yd. line.  
  • Score and league standings will not be kept for the 6U or 8U league.
  • Score will be kept for the *U league only.
  • All snaps must be in the shotgun formation.
  • The ball must be snapped between the legs. If the ball isn’t snapped between the legs or if the ball touches the ground on a snap, it will be a dead ball and a loss of down.
  • Play is ruled “dead” when:
                — Ball carrier’s flag is pulled
  •             — Ball carrier steps out of bounds
                — Touchdown or safety is scored
                — Ball carrier’s knee hits the ground
                — Ball carrier’s flag falls out
                **Note: There are no fumbles. The ball is spotted where the ball hits the ground.



  • Each player must play at least half of each half of a game.  Failure of a team to follow this rule will be grounds for an immediate forfeit of the game.
  • Players should get the opportunity to play offense and defense.
  • The referees and opposing team’s coach must be notified as soon as possible when a player is being held out of a game because of injury, illness, or discipline.  (This includes those who have a medical condition such as asthma. The referees should note the player being held out on the score sheet.)
  • If a player is held out that was not reported to the referee that did not fulfill the required playing time, the team at fault will forfeit that game and the coach at fault will be reported and will be required to sit out the following game.
  • If a player is to be held out of a game after the game has started, the referee must be notified at the first opportunity.  At the referee’s first opportunity, the referee will notify the opposing coach.


  • Substitutions may be made at any time.


•          The home team will have the option of having the ball first in the first half or second half.

•          Playing direction will be determined by the team who doesn’t have the ball first in the first half.    

  • Playing direction will switch in the second half.

•          The scheduled start time of the game is forfeit time.  THERE IS NO GRACE PERIOD.  Both teams must be warmed up and ready to play 5 minutes before the scheduled start time.

•          If less than a full team is present for one of the teams, the other team has the option to play with a maximum number of players or equal to the opposing teams number of players

•          Upon completion of the games, teams must clear the field and bench area as quickly as possible to allow for the next game to start on time.

•          Teams are not allowed on the field prior to the completion of the previous game. When the previous game ends, the teams should go to mid field for equipment check and instructions. DO NOT GO TO THE BENCH TO DROP OFF EQUIPMENT – let the teams from the previous game clear the benches first.


  • Touchdown:
    •  6 points
  • Extra point:
    • 1 point (played from 5-yard line) Must be a pass play
    • 2 points (played from 10-yard line) Can be a run or pass play
  • Safety:
    • 2 points


  • The quarterback cannot run with the ball.  The QB is the person who receives the snap (no direct snaps to the running back).
  • Only direct handoffs behind the line of scrimmage are permitted. Offense may use multiple handoffs.
  • “No-running zones” located five yards from each end zone and five yards on either side of midfield are designed to avoid short-yardage, power-running situations.
  • The player who takes the handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Once the ball has been handed off, all defensive players are eligible to rush.
  • Spinning is allowed, but players cannot leave their feet to avoid a defensive player (no diving).
  • The ball is spotted where the ball carrier’s feet are when the flag is pulled, not where the ball is.
  • No laterals or pitches of any kind are allowed. (Except from the QB to RB)


  • All players are eligible to receive passes
  • Only one player is allowed in motion at a time. The player must be set before the ball is snapped.
  • A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception.


  • For ages 6U, the coach is the quarterback.
  • For ages 8U, a player is the quarterback.
  • Shovel passes are allowed.
  • The quarterback has a seven-second “pass clock.” If a pass is not thrown within the seven seconds, play is dead, loss of down. Once the ball is handed off, the seven-second rule no longer is in effect.
  • Interceptions may be returned.  The defensive team takes over after an interception where the player was ruled down, if not returned for a touchdown. 
  • All passes must be from behind the line of scrimmage, thrown forward and received beyond the line scrimmage.

Rushing the Quarterback

  • 6U age group
    • No rushing is allowed.
  • 8U age group
    • Players can rush the quarterback once per half. (The official must know in advance before a team can use their blitz).
    • All defensive players who rush the passer must be a minimum of three (3) yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.
  • Once the ball is handed off, the three (3)-yard rule is no longer in effect, and all defenders may go behind the line of scrimmage. A special marker, or the referee, will designate three (3) yards from the line of scrimmage. Remember, no blocking or tackling is allowed.


  • All penalties will be called by the referee.
  • Offsides- Five yards
  • Interference- 10 yards and automatic first down
  • Illegal FLAG pull (before receiver has ball)- 10 yards and automatic first down
  • Illegal rushing (starting rush from inside 3-yard marker)- 10 yards and automatic first down


  • Illegal motion (more than one person moving, false start, etc.)- Five yards
  • Illegal forward pass (pass thrown beyond line of scrimmage)- Five yards
  • Offensive pass interference (illegal pick play, pushing off/away defender)- 10 yards and loss of down
  • FLAG guarding- 10 yards (from line of scrimmage) and loss of down
  • Delay of game (25 second play clock once ball is spotted)- Clock stops, 5 yards
  • Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play. All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.
  • Only the coaches may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretations. Players cannot question judgment calls.
  • Games cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense declines it.

Timeouts & Overtime

  • Each team has one 60-second and one 30-second time-out per half.
  • Officials can stop the clock at their discretion.
  • No overtime games during the season. If score is tied at the end of regulation, game will be considered a tie.


Elasticity Clause – The flag football rules in this manual may not cover all rules/situations that may occur in a flag football game.  Those rules and situations that are not covered in this manual will be governed by commonly accepted flag football rules as understood by the officials to the best of their ability at that time.

  • All referees are appointed by the City of Barnwell Parks & Recreation Department.  Referees should be easily identified in a black or white City of Barnwell referee t-shirt.


Coaches on the Sidelines

  • Coaches are allowed on the sidelines with the players during the game.  NO parents should be on the sidelines during the game to help the coach.
  • Coaches who are seen using tobacco, drinking, using foul language, or other inappropriate behavior will be subject to corrective action.


  • Only players and coaches are allowed be around or sit on the player’s bench. Spectators cannot be seated within 5yds of the field of play.  Spectators should not stand or pace around the field.  No spectators should be standing/sitting behind the end zones. If this rule is violated, the referee will have the authority to suspend the game until the spectators are seated appropriately.


  • If the field monitor or referee witnesses any acts of tackling, elbowing, cheap shots or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game. FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
  • Trash talking is illegal. Officials have the right to determine offensive language. (Trash talk is talk that may be offensive to officials, opposing players, teams or spectators.) If trash talking occurs, the referee will give one warning. If it continues, the player or players will be ejected from the game.
  • Officials and City of Barnwell staff will have complete authority over the game.  Any coach, player, or spectator that displays poor sportsmanship or conduct inconsistent the spirit of the league will be subject to a warning, foul, or ejections from the facility. 


  • Team with the best record from the regular season will be considered Champion. If two teams end up with same record, champion will be determined by head-to-head competition. If teams are still tied, they will be awarded Co-Champions.


  • There are no dogs allowed in the ballparks. We are a tobacco free facility.