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2024 Rules​​ 

Regulation Ball Sizes       

  • Under 8:  K2

  • Under 10:  TDJ

  • Under 13:  TDY


The Game

  • 2 halves; 20 minutes long with 5 minutes for halftime

  • The clock stops inside of 1-minute (2nd Half ONLY) for all dead balls and first downs


  • Games begin with prayer at mid-field

  • The start of play will be determined by Rock/Paper/Scissors between team Captains

  • Winner: choose the ball / defer to 2nd half and choose which goal to defend

  • Possession will alternate at the start of 2nd half

  • Teams will switch ends of the field after halftime


Head Coach

  • Identified at the pre-game Coaches Meeting

  • Responsible for all behavior issues related to players and fans

  • The ONLY Representative who can ask questions about rule clarification or interpretation 

  • Each team is responsible for CLEAN UP their bench area after the game

  • (1) 1st & 2nd Grade Coach may be on the field for Offense and Defense

  • Older Division Coaches MUST be on the sideline at the time of the snap for safety



  • 6 v 6 Game – and a maximum of 5 players on the field at any time

  • Recommended players on a roster, 10

  • Every player must play at least 50% of the game if they are physically able

  • THERE IS NO GAMEDAY PENALTY FOR VIOLATING THE 50% PLAY RULE, please report to your Director and submit a complaint to the league

  • Each team must have at least 6 players to begin the game 

  • We strongly recommend playing the game even with borrowed players


The Score

  • No league standings will be kept 

  • League's purpose is to emphasize fun, fellowship, and instruction

  • Touchdown – 6 Points

  • Extra Point – 1 Point (5-yard line)

  • Extra Point – 2 Points (10-yard line)

  • Safety – 2 Points (Flag pull, OR fumbled ball in the end zone by the offense)

  • Pick 6 - 6 Points (interceptions may be returned as long as the Defender has a flag belt on.  If not, the play is ruled dead at the spot of catch)

  • NOTE: Interceptions on Extra Points are not returnable...ball is dead.


Rules of the Game

  • ESCRA uses the 2016 NFL Flag Football Rules, with age rule modifications

  • The offense takes possession of the ball at its 5-yard line and has three (3) plays to cross midfield, and after 1st Down, 3 additional downs to score a TD 

  • If the offense fails to get a 1st down at midfield or score a touchdown, the ball changes possession and the new offensive possession takes over on its 5-yard line

  • Possession changes (EXCEPT interceptions) start on the offense’s 5-yard line

  • When the ball is spotted, a team has 30 seconds to snap the ball 

  • A 15-second warning will be given before the delay of the game penalty 

  • Each team has (1) 30-second time out per half

  • 35-Point Mercy Rule: 2nd Half is SHORTENED TO 15 MINUTES



  • The ball must be snapped between the legs, not off to one side, to start play

  • The Quarterback CANNOT attack the line of scrimmage (fake a run) or cross the line of scrimmage with the ball

  • Quarterback Option plays are NOT allowed, as it will constitute the quarterback running

  • All handoffs, tosses, and pitches by the QB to another player, MUST BE behind the line of scrimmage

  • Once the ball has been handed off, all defensive players are eligible to rush

  • The offense may use multiple handoffs, however, the Defense can rush after the first handoff

  • ALL PASSES - MUST be forward and across the Line of Scrimmage

  • NO LATERALS (a backward overhand pass thrown to another player) 

  • “NO RUNNING ZONE” located 5-yards from each end zone and 5-yards on either side of midfield, and is designed to avoid short-yardage, power-running situations

  • A player taking a handoff, toss, or pitch may pass the ball from behind the line of scrimmage

  • Spins and Dives are not allowed by either the Offense or Defense teams

  • Offensive players cannot intentionally leave their feet to avoid a defensive play

  • The ball is spotted where the flag is pulled, NOT the location of the ball

  • No downfield blocking or moving screens are allowed 

  • The quarterback has 7 seconds to hand-off, toss, or throw after taking the snap

  • The 7-Second Rule starts on the QB receiving the ball from the Center snap



  • All players are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off or pitched behind the line of scrimmage)

  • Only one player is allowed to be in motion at a time

  • A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception

  • All passes must be forward and received beyond the line of scrimmage

  • Shovel passes are allowed but must be received beyond the line of scrimmage

  • Interceptions can be advanced if the Defensive player has a flag belt on


Dead Balls (Clock will stop under 1 minute of 2nd Half)

  • Substitutions may be made on any dead ball

  • When the ball hits the ground (even on Quarterback/Center exchange)

  • The ball carrier’s flag is pulled

  • The ball carrier steps out of bounds

  • When a Touchdown or Safety is scored

  • The Ball carrier’s knee or elbow hits the ground

  • The Ball carrier’s flag falls off (official’s discretion may be used)

  • Any penalties or infractions



  • NO DEFENSIVE RUSHERS (Until QB hands-off the ball)

  • Defensive Players may defend on the line of scrimmage, but CAN NOT cross the line of scrimmage until the FIRST HANDOFF is made

  • Once the ball has been handed off, all defenders may go behind the line of scrimmage. 

  • NO tackling or rough play is allowed


Defensive Penalties / Infractions

  • Offsides: 5 Yards and automatic 1st down

  • Illegal Rushing the QB: 5 Yard and automatic 1st down

       (Note: before a handoff, or from inside the 10 Yard marker will result in off-sides)

  • Interference:  5 Yards and automatic 1st down

  • Illegal flag pull (before the receiver has the ball): 5 Yards and automatic 1st down

  • Diving: 5 Yards from the spot of the infraction and automatic 1st down

  • Rough Play: 5 Yards and automatic 1st down & Unsportsmanlike Warning


Offensive Penalties / Infractions

  • False Start: 5 Yards and loss of down

  • Illegal forward pass: 5 Yards and loss of down

      (Note: this is a pass received behind LOS or passes made beyond LOS)

  • Flag guarding: Dead Ball at the spot of the infraction, down counts

  • Blocking & Screening: Deadball at the spot of the infraction, down counts

  • Intentionally spinning or leaving the ground: to avoid having a flag pulled is a Dead Ball at the spot of the infraction 

  • Games cannot end on a defensive penalty unless the offense declines it.

  • (Note:  Referees determine incidental that may result in the normal run of the play) 



  • If the officials witness any tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking, or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected 


  • Unsportsmanlike Behavior will receive a warning.  Player: 1st Penalty, a player is sent to the sideline, on the 2nd Penalty the player is ejected from the Game-

  • Coaches who are ejected will receive a 2-game suspension

  • Officials have the right to determine offensive language.  At the discretion of the Officials, and or Site Manager, violators of offensive language (coaches, players, and or spectators) may receive a warning OR possible ejection. Repeat violators may be banned.


The Equipment

  • Tennis shoes or soft-cleated shoes

  • Triple-threat-type flags are MANDATORY for ALL PLAYERS

  • Flag Belts (flags on sides and back) MUST be a different color from the uniform SHORTS

  • Matching shirts/jerseys are required, must have numbers and the organization name

  • Mouthpieces are MANDATORY, with no exceptions


The Officials

  • Two (2) officials will be assigned by ESCRA to enforce the rules of the game, with instruction, fun, fairness, and safety in mind

  • The referee(s) should briefly explain all infractions

  • If a referee does not show up for a game, please inform the Site Director and YOUR organization’s Director

  • PLEASE NOTE: If officials do not show up for your game, please play the game with honor and respect


Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide and promote recreation between churches in the Shelby County area in a Christ-honoring environment


Our Purpose

  • Provide athletic competition for all ages

  • Promote an environment for the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship

  • Promote participation in team sports

  • Encourage fellowship that honors Jesus Christ


Age/Grade Exemptions

  • In special circumstances, an exemption may be granted for a player to play in an age group for which he/she is too old

  • All exemption requests must be made by the Athletic Director/Coordinator by filling out the Exemption Form on the ESCRA website  

  • Churches will be notified concerning the status of the exemption

  • All approved exemptions can be revoked if the exemption is deemed not appropriate


Team Rosters

  • Rosters must be submitted to the League before the first game by each Organization’s sports director/coordinator to

  • ESCRA Flag football is an “ALL PLAY” League and Girls are permitted to participate


Playing on More Than One Team

  • Players are not allowed to play on more than one team within the same sports season. 

  • Anyone playing for his/her school, playing on a competitive team, or playing in another league/association within the same sports season may not play in the ESCRA league.


Revised: JUNE 3, 2024

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