NFHS makes football rules changes for blindside blocks, pop-up kicks

February 23, 2017 / Football
The National Federation of State High School Associations’ Football Rules Committee this week approved 11 rules changes, most of which will be in place for the 2017 season.

Photo: Kevin Hoffman

Among them are new rules for blindside blocks and pop-up kicks. The definition of a blindside block, as established by the committee, is “a block against an opponent other than the runner, who does not see the blocker approaching.” It now results in a 15-yard penalty.

The committee determined that the blindside block “involves contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration, is vulnerable to injury. Unless initiated with open hands, it is a foul for excessive and unnecessary contact when the block is forceful and outside of the free-blocking zone.”

Another rule change concerns pop-up kicks, which were becoming more popular in high school football but will now be banned. A new definition of a pop-up kick is defined as “a free kick in which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, the ball strikes the ground once and goes into the air in the manner of a ball kicked directly off the tee.”

The committee hopes the change will reduce injuries, as most pop-up kicks take place on onside kicks. Such kicks will be penalized as a dead-ball free-kick infraction.

Other changes include expanding the definition of a defenseless player in addition to uniform rules changes. Beginning in 2021, the jerseys of the home team must be a dark color that clearly contrasts to white.

To learn more and see a complete list of rules changes from the NFHS, click here.

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