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Ladera Football League

Ladera Football League

The Rules of the Game

LFL Rule Book

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Rule 1 – The Game, Field, Players and Equipment

Section 1 – The Game, Field and Players

Article 1.  The field shall be 70 yards long by 30 yards wide, with 10-yard end zones and No Running zones located 5 yards before the first down line and before the end zone.

Article 2.  The offensive team provides it's own football consistent with the League issued football.

Article 3.  The team box is defined at the area on the sideline between the 5-yard line and the 25-yard line.  A restricted area will be defined at midfield between the 5-yard no-run zones.  Coaches and players on the sideline must stay in their team box.  One coach may be on the field, except within the 7th and 8th Division – all coaches must be on the sideline in the 7th and 8th Division.

Article 4. Play is 5 v 5.

Section 2 – Equipment

Article 1.  League provided jersey; shorts, helmet and flags must be worn during play.

Article 2.  All players must wear a protective mouthpiece.

Article 3.  Cleats are allowed, except for metal spikes.

Article 4.  Hats, beanies, headbands are not allowed.

Rule 2 – Participation and Substitution

Section 1- Participation

Article 1.  Only rostered players may play.

Article 2.  Each player plays a two quarter minimum, three quarters maximum if short players.

Article 3. Coach missing player determines who fills in. If in final two minutes of half or game then other coach selects player if due to injury for instance.

Article 4. Squad based, no free substitutions.

Article 5. A team is allowed to designate 1 player (per game) as their “Gunslinger.” This designated Gunslinger is allowed to play every quarter on offense as the team’s sole QB (if the team so chooses). The Gunslinger may play defense as usual to make up the missing quarters due to only having 9 players.

Rule 3 – Periods, Time Factors and Substitutions

Section 1 – Timing

Article 1.  40 minutes of running time. (Four 10-minute quarters, with a 5-minute halftime)

Article 2.  A coin toss determines first possession, and the winner of the coin toss may select the ball in the first half, or to start the 2nd half.  The other team will choose the end of the field to start play

Article 3.  Teams change sides after the first 20 minutes (halftime).

Section 2 – Clock and Time-Outs

Article 1.  The running time will begin with the snap to start each quarter.

Article 2.  Each team has (2) two 30 second times-out per half.

Article 3.  Officials can stop the clock at their own discretion, and after a delay of game penalty.

Article 4.  The clock will stop for injuries, and will start on the next snap.

Section 3 – Ready For Play and Delay

Article 1.  Each time the ball is spotted, a team has 30 seconds to snap the ball.

Rule 4 – Ball in Play, Dead Ball and Out of Bounds

Section 1 – Putting the Ball in Play

Article 1.  Each half will start with the offensive team taking possession of the ball at its 5-yard line.

Article 2.  The ball will always be spotted in the center of the field.

Article 3. The ball will be spotted at the location where the ball was possessed at the time of the flag pull.

Section 2 – Ball Becomes Dead

Article 1.  When any body part of the runner except the foot or hand touches the ground.

Article 2.  If the runner’s flag falls out accidentally, or the flag belt slips down, the runner may continue to advance, and the defense may pull the other flag, or simply have a “one-hand touch”.  NOTE:  If a defender reaches and pulls a flag that does not immediately fall off, but falls off later in the run, the runner is to be determined down at the point the flag falls off.

Article 3.  There are no fumbles.  The play is dead and the ball is spotted at that location.

Article 4.  When a hand-off or pass occurs BEYOND line of scrimmage.

Article 5.  At line of scrimmage, if the quarterback runs the ball directly without a hand-off or without a 7 yard rusher crossing the line of scrimmage.

Article 6.  At the spot of a second pass.

Article 7.  At the line of scrimmage, if a run is attempted in the No Run Zone.

Rule 5 – Series of Downs

Section 1 – Series of Downs

Article 1.  The offensive team has three plays to cross midfield and gain a first down.

Article 2.  All possession changes, except interceptions, start on the offense’s 5-yard line.

Rule 6 – Kicking the Ball

Section 1 - Kicks

Article 1. There are no kick offs or punts

Rule 7 – Snapping, Handing and Passing the Ball

Section 1 – Snap

Article 1.  The ball must be snapped between the legs, and after the ready for play whistle. 

Article 2.  False Start/Offsides - Following the ready for play, if an offensive player makes an abrupt movement to simulate the start of a play, the play shall be whistled dead immediately.

Section 2 – Formation and Position at the Snap

Article 1.  All players on offense are eligible receivers.

Article 2.  Rushing - All players who rush the passer must be a minimum of seven yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.  Any number of players can rush the quarterback.  Once the ball leaves the hand of the quarterback, the seven-yard rule no longer is in effect, and all defenders may go behind the line of scrimmage. Once this rusher passes the line of scrimmage, this also eliminates the 7 second play clock and the quarterback is allowed to run.

Article 3.  Motion/Shift - Only one player is allowed in motion at one time, and no player may be moving forward towards the line of scrimmage.  One or multiple offensive players may shift from one position to another; however, all players must be set prior to the snap.

Section 3 – Handing the Ball and Running

Article 1. A run is considered any hand off to the running back or any throw that is completed behind the line of scrimmage.

Article 2.  Each team in the 7th/8th Grade Division shall have only 3 rushing attempts per drive. Quarterback runs are included in this number.

Article 3.  No handoffs to the center.

Article 4.  Only handoffs behind the line of scrimmage permitted.  Multiple handoffs allowed.

Article 5.  “No Running Zones” applies to going into a zone, and not coming out of a “Zone”.

Article 6.  The player who takes a handoff may throw the ball from behind the line.

Article 7.  Runner may not charge, lower head into defender or initiate contact.  Spinning is allowed.  Runner may not hurdle or jump into or over an upright defender.  For safety purposes a runner may jump to try to avoid a falling or downed defender to avoid contact.

Article 8. The quarterback (one who receives the snap) can run the ball directly, only when a 7 yard rusher has crossed the line of scrimmage. This also eliminates the 7 second play clock.

Section 4 – Passing

Article 1.  A “pass” is considered anything completed beyond the line of scrimmage. All passes must be made from behind the line of scrimmage.  Only one pass per down, whether is it forward or backwards.

Article 2.  If in the no-run zone, to be considered a pass, the ball must cross the LOS (as defined by what a pass is in the previous article).

Article 3.  A pass may be overhand or underhand.

Article 4.  If any part of the passer has not crossed the line of scrimmage, the pass is legal.

Article 5.  The quarterback has a seven-second clock, if a pass is not thrown or the ball not handed off within seven seconds, play is dead, next down, previous spot.  Once the ball leaves the QB’s hands, the seven-second rule is no longer in effect.

Article 6. Kindergarten division the ball is down at spot of interception, 1st-2nd Grade Divisions and higher may return interceptions.

Article 7.  All players are eligible to receive passes, including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off behind the line of scrimmage. A ball cannot be thrown after a pitch to the running back, even if the player is behind the LOS.

Article 8.  A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a catch.

Rule 8 – Scoring

Section 1 - Touchdowns

Article 1.  Touchdowns are 6 points.

Article 2.  Extra point; 1 point – (played from the 5 yard line – must pass – “No Run Zone”) or 2 points – (played from the 12 yard line).

Section 2 - Defense

Article 1.  Defense may score on an extra point for the equivalent point total of the try.

Article 2.  Safeties are 2 points.

Rule 9 – Conduct of Players

Section 1 – Contact - Offense

Article 1.  No charging, hurdling, roughing, holding, blocking, blocking interference, offensive pass interference, illegal pick play (which requires contact)

Article 2.  No FLAG guarding.  Flag guarding is a spot foul enforced at the spot of infraction.

Note:  Should a penalty bring the ball back behind midfield after the offense has achieved a first down on the play, then it will be first and goal.

Article 3.  Blocking Interference/Shadow Blocking:  is illegal non-contact blocking interfering with the defender in pursuit.

Section 2 – Contact – Defense

Article 1.  No pass interference (requires contact).

Article 2.  No illegal contact, roughing, holding, blocking, etc.  It is also considered illegal contact for the defense to hit or strip the ball from the runner.

Article 3.  Roughing the Passer:  The quarterback shall not be roughed at all during the passing motion.  Any contact, in the slightest, above the waist, shall be roughing.  It is roughing to touch the ball or the hand and arm of the quarterback while in the throwing motion.  The defender may reach for the flag and make contact in the waist (flag) area.

Article 4.  Illegal Flag Pull (before the runner or receiver has the ball)

Section 3 – Non-Contact Fouls

Article 1.  Unsportsmanlike conduct for players and coaches includes any act that attracts attention or degrades an opponent or official.  This may include excessive celebrations, throwing the ball in celebration, or at an opponent or official, gestures, fighting, offensive language or trash talking.

Article 2.  It is an Unsportsmanlike foul against the head coach if illegal participation or substitution occurs.

Note:  If a player or coach receives a second unsportsmanlike penalty in the same game, they will be ejected, and must leave the playing area.

Article 3. Coaches cannot ‘coach’ players on the field after the ball has been snapped.

Section 4 – Last Man Rule

Article 1.  If a runner/receiver has a clear chance at the end zone to score, and the last possible defender illegally tackles or trips the runner, the official will award a score.

Rule 10 – Enforcement of Penalties

Article 1.  Any foul may be declined.

Article 2.  The half or game cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless it is declined.

Article 3.  If multiple live ball fouls occur on the same play, the penalties will offset and the down will be replayed.  If multiple live ball fouls occur against the same team, the offended team may select one of the fouls for enforcement.

Article 4.  If a live ball foul and a dead ball foul occur on the same play, both fouls will be enforced in the order of occurrence.

Article 5.  Live ball fouls by opponents of the scoring team are declined by rule and do not carry over to the extra point of the next possession.

Article 6.  Dead ball fouls by the scoring team or opponents of the scoring team will be enforced on the next play.  (ex. fouls on a touchdown will be enforced on the extra point, and fouls on an extra point will be enforced on the next possession).

Article 7.  Contact fouls against the defense are enforced at the end of the run.  Exception, if the offense loses yards on the play, contact fouls against the defense will be enforced from the previous spot.

Rule 11- Special League Rules

Section 1. Playoffs and Overtime

Article 1. Playoffs will consist of a one-week tournament whereby the top teams (to be determined by league each season) will compete for the championship.

Article 2. Each team must have at least 8 players from their roster to compete in the playoff tournament. Should a team show up with less, the game will be forfeit.

Article 3.  Overtime will only be applied to playoff games. It shall consist of each team having one possession (3 downs) from midfield.  If a team scores, they have the option of going for 1 or 2 points on the try.  The winner of the coin flip will have the choice of playing offense or defense first.  The other team will choose the end of the field. 

Article 4. Overtime playoff games continue if the teams are still tied after each overtime period.  Beginning each period, the choice of “offense or defense” or end of the field will alternate, based on the winner of the initial overtime coin flip.  Beginning with the 3rd overtime, the teams must go for 2 points on the try.

Article 5. Playoff rules for minimum playtime are changed, only for a team’s duration within the playoffs. The league minimum play within playoffs is changed to 1 quarter for every player who attends.

Article 6. All rostered players shall be in attendance for each playoff game; however, should a team come with 1 player missing from their roster, the game shall continue as planned. If a team should come short 2 or more players, the opposing team’s head coach shall select the player who will take the spot of the missing player.

Section 2.  Mercy Rule

Article 1.  If a team is ahead by 25 points or more, future scores will not count.  If the team behind by 25 points or more scores and closes the margin to 24 or less, the team ahead may count future scores, until the lead increases beyond 25 points or more.

Article 2. If ahead by 25 points or more, interceptions may not be returned.

Article 3.  Coaches should use discretion in allowing others to participate, throw and catch in a mercy situation.  Failure to do so may result in league action, removal from the next game, or the league.

Article 4. A team losing by 25 or more points shall be granted a 4th down per half of the field (E.g. 4 downs for a first down at midfield, then 4 downs to score). Once the trailing team has closed the deficit to 24 or fewer points, they will revert to 3 downs per half of the field.

Section 3.  Officials (Referee)

Article 1.  The officials have authority to rule promptly, and in the spirit of good sportsmanship, on any situation not specifically covered in the rules.  The official’s decisions are final in all matters pertaining to the game.

Article 2.  Coaches may not approach the officials after the game.

Section 4.  League Commissioner

Article 1.  A league commissioner or representative will be on site at all times.

Article 2.  The on field official is responsible to handle their assigned field for all calls.

Article 3.  The league commissioner or representative reserves the right to intervene in all matters related to the league to ensure safety and fairness.  Any ruling with regard to uniforms, substitutions, injuries, rule enforcements and ejections made by the league commissioner is final.




5-yard Penalties

· Delay of Game

· False Start

· Illegal Snap

· Illegal Motion

· Illegal Shift

· Offsides (Offense or defense)

10-yard Penalties

· Flag guarding – (spot foul)

· Illegal Contact, Offense – (also loss of down)

· Illegal Contact, Defense – (also automatic first down)

· Illegal Flag Pull – (also automatic first down)

· Illegal Rushing, Defense  – (also automatic first down)

· Pass Interference, Defense – (also automatic first down)

· Pass Interference, Offense – (also loss of down)

· Roughing Passer – (also automatic first down)

15-yard Penalties

· Unsportsmanlike – Rule 9.3.1, 9.3.2 and 9.3.3 (possible ejection for fighting, and ejection for the second such foul on the same individual)

Last Man Rule

· Official may award a score (touchdown or try)

Running Play Clarification

Should a penalty occur on the defense on the same play the offense chose to run, and the offense chooses to accept or decline the penalty resulting in positive yards gained, the run will count. Should the offense choose to replay that down, they may run again, as the previous play before did not count.


League Discipline

Should a verbal or physical altercation occur between two coaches, a coach and a parent, or between a coach and our officials, all coaches involved will be expelled from the league as a head coach.



Ladera Football League
27762 Antonio Pkwy., Unit L-1 #296
Ladera Ranch, California 92694

Email: [email protected]

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