top of page

Separation 7v7 Official Rules


Player Rules

In order to participate in games, every player must:

  1. Be properly certified in registration with Zorts, at the appropriate age for their division (age as of January 1, 2023 applies to each division all season — no exceptions)

  2. Sign Participation Waiver

  3. Sign Code of Conduct

  4. Playing on a different team in the same age group, even from the same program, results in automatic disqualification for both the initial team the player was on and the team they switched to

  5. Wear a mouthguard during the game (not required for quarterbacks)

  6. Wear soft shell headgear (not required but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

  7. Headgear must have at least a 4 rating by Virginia Tech Helmet Labs and include a fully functional retention system or chin strap

  8. Headgear must provide full head coverage with no hard or metal component parts, and be unable to cause harm to others

  9. Concussion Protocol: Medical assessment will be conducted by the Event Athletic Trainers. Field concussion protocol will be used to establish which course of action will need to be taken. In the event that medical transport is needed, event protocol will be followed in contacting 9-1-1. Concussion Protocol prohibits an athlete from returning to play if transported to hospital. Upon return, athlete must present hospital discharge and restriction paperwork to the coach and event medical staff. If athlete is NOT cleared to participate the athlete WILL NOT PLAY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE.


Field Dimensions/Specs

  1. 40 yards in length – 40, 25 & 10 are the first down lines

  2. Between 145’ - 160’ in width

  3. 10 yards deep in End Zone

  4. Field hash marks are of high school dimensions

Team Members

(a) Players

  1. Each team has a maximum of 24 players. Players will not be accepted into the event as individuals. All players must be a part of a team.

  2. Teams are not required to utilize an offensive center.

  3. If utilizing one, the offensive center is not an eligible receiver.

  4. The center will be responsible for setting or re-positioning the football at the line of scrimmage. If no center, the QB will be responsible.


High School Division:

  1. All players must be under the age of 19.

  2. Seniors who have graduated from high school may only play until July 31 of the season directly following high school graduation.

  3. Seniors who graduated and have started college are not eligible.

Middle School Division:

  1. Players must be at least 12 years of age at the time of the tournament to be eligible for participation

  2. Players must be 14 years of age or under as of day of tournament

(a) Coaches

  1. Each team has a maximum of 3 coaches. Coaches will be allowed on the sidelines only during games.

  2. One offensive coach may be in the huddle with players between plays but when the huddle breaks the coach must move outside the hash on the side of his team bench so as to not interfere with the operation of the official or game play.

  3. Defensive coaches are not allowed on the field at any time.


  1. Each game will have a minimum of two (2) officials. Positions are Referee/Field Judge and Back Judge.

  2. Each game needs to have a scorekeeper/timekeeper.

  3. Field manager – Event must have one for every two 7v7 fields to assist with crowd, player, coach, and referee control on/around the game fields.

Game Times

  1. Teams must be onsite and ready to start on time. If a team is late or cannot start on time, the game clock will begin and whatever time is left on the clock will be where the game starts. The team that is late will begin on defense. If a team is late by 10 minutes or more they will forfeit the game.

  2. Pool Play Games are played with a twenty five (25) minute running clock. No Time outs, No stoppage of the clocks

  3. Tournament Games are played with an eighteen (18) minute running clock. After the initial 18 minutes, the last 2 minutes are played as regulation football game with clock stoppages per regulation NFHS football rules. During the last two minutes, all completions must be advanced past the line of scrimmage, otherwise the clock will stop. Sacks in the last two minutes stop the clock as well

  4. 1 timeout per team (30 sec) – during tournament bracket play only Overtime: During tournament bracket play only

  5. Overtime: During tournament bracket play only

  6. If overtime is required, teams will alternate three (3) plays from the ten-yard line. Each team has an attempt to score in each overtime period.

  7. Starting with the 3rd and subsequent overtimes, all PAT’s must be 2 point attempts from the 10 yard line.

  8. Overtime periods are not timed.

  9. Each team is awarded one timeout during overtime period.


  1. Six (6) points for a touchdown

  2. One (1) point for a PAT from 3 yard line

  3. Two (2) points for a PAT from 10 yard line

  4. Two (2) Points for Defensive Stop on downs

  5. Three (3) Points for Interception (no runbacks or “pick 6” for safety reasons)

  6. Turnover on a PAT is dead ball (including INT)

  7. Official scores will be kept by field referee and sideline scorekeeper.



(a) Offense

  1. Off-sides = Loss of Down

  2. Delay of Game = Loss of Down

  3. Each team will have 25 seconds to snap the ball once it has been marked ready for play; delay of game penalty will be assessed.

  4. Pass interference = 5-yard penalty and Loss of Down

  5. No penalty may be assessed in excess of the 40 yard line. If a penalty would move the offense beyond the 40 yard line, the offensive team shall be charged with a loss of down.

  6. If the referee sees that the clock has exceeded 4.0 seconds, the play is blown dead. The ball should be returned to the original line of scrimmage with loss of down. If the QB proceeds to throw the ball after the play has been blown dead, a penalty for offensive delay of game will be assessed.

  7. Offensive team is responsible for retrieving and returning the ball to the previous spot or the new scrimmage spot. Clock does not stop and any delay by offense in retrieving and returning the ball TO THE REFEREE will result in a delay of game and will be a 5-yard penalty from the succeeding spot.

  8. If defensive holding occurs on the same play as a sack, the defense will be penalized and the sack is void.

(b) Defense

  1. Off-sides = 5-yard penalty

  2. Defensive Holding = 5-yard penalty

  3. Defensive Pass Interference will be a spot foul (1st down at the spot).

  4. If Defensive Pass Interference occurs in the end zone, it will result in a 1st down at the 1-yard line.

  5. Any dead ball penalty on the defense AFTER a change of possession would result in a loss of down for that team’s offense when they begin their ensuing possession.

  6. Responsibility to avoid contact is with the defense. The defense is allowed an INITIAL disruption, and then must cover. Excessive or prolonged contact will result in a “tack on” penalty at the end of the play (5-yard penalty).



(a) Receiver/Ball carrier is legally down when touched below the neck with one or both hands. (Excessive force by shoving, pushing, or striking a blow will be penalized by automatic first down and 5 yards. Player can be expelled if ruled unsportsmanlike & flagrant). ANY HANDS TO THE FACE WILL BE CONSIDERED EXCESSIVE AND WILL BE FLAGGED!

  1. Fumbles that hit the ground are dead balls at the spot with the last team retaining possession. A muffed snap is not a fumble/dead ball. The 4.0 second count remains in effect on snaps.

  2. The QB is allowed 4.0 seconds to throw the ball. Time starts on the snap of the ball and stops as soon as the QB releases the ball. If release is under 4.0 seconds, the play continues. Play is blown dead after 4.0 seconds.

  3. Interceptions may not be returned – 3 points are awarded on interception. Points for defensive stop and interception are not “added together”. One or the other ends a possession with defensive points.

  4. The offense must gain at least 15 yards in the first 3 or less plays or the defense takes over. No 4th downs. (3) downs in all zones.


  1. If during game play a coach or player disagrees with an official’s judgment call, they may not dispute that call with the official at that time.

  2. If during game play a coach or player disagrees with a rules interpretation, they may stop the game to determine with the officials and field manager

  3. For consideration, the coach must report all game play ruling discrepancies to the Field Manager no more than 10 minutes after that game has ended. Any reversal or game-changing decisions will be made at the Field Manager’s discretion.

Additional Game Format Rules

  1. Pool Play

  2. Bracket Play - Higher seed gets choice of offense/defense for opening possession

  3. No kicking or punting

  4. No passer may run with the ball.

  5. All passes must be thrown forward. A pass caught behind the line of scrimmage must be advanced by that receiver past the line of scrimmage in the final 2:00 minutes or the clock stops. The only laterals that will be allowed will be laterals that occur after the completion of a forward pass.

  6. Hand offs in the backfield are not allowed.

  7. All offensive formations must be legal sets. Receivers’ alignment should respect the tackle box.

  8. No blocking.

  9. No taunting or "trash talking." (See Code of Conduct for penalty).

  10. Fighting: All players must abide by the The Separation 7v7 Code of Conduct. See Code of Conduct for more detail.


(a) If two teams are tied at the end of pool play, the tiebreaker is head-to- head records.

(b) If three or more teams are tied at the end of pool play, the following criteria will be used to determine winners:

  1. Head-to-head records Points allowed

  2. Points allowed

  3. Points scored

  4. Coin flip


Event Conduct



  1. Players are permitted to celebrate with teammates and coaches in-between plays and after the game has ended

  2. No excessive celebration can occur directly in front of opposing players, coaches or spectators, otherwise a 15-yard personal foul penalty is assessed




  1. No fighting will be tolerated. Any player who initiates a fight where a punch is thrown will be immediately ejected from the tournament.

  2. No players are to leave the sideline and enter the field if a fight breaks out during a game. Those players will be immediately ejected from the current game and subject to ejection from the tournament.

  3. Parents and fans are to remain away from the bench area of teams. Any parent who instigates a fight with an opposing player or coach will be removed from the event and team may be subject to ejection from event.

  4. Any parent or fan entering the field of play during a game for any reason (except injury) will be immediately ejected from the event and the team may be ejected from the tournament.



The Separation 7v7 Tournaments

  1. Uniforms

a) Players are permitted to wear standard football cleats with plastic or rubber spikes. No metal spikes are allowed.

  1. Qualifying/Advancing

a) If a single team plays in more than one qualifying event and qualifies multiple times, they may not give one of their spots up to another team

bottom of page