NFHS changes high school football play clock to 40 seconds

In an effort to establish a more consistent time period between downs in high school football, the play clock will start at 40 seconds instead of 25 seconds in many cases beginning with the 2019 season.  This change was one of the more significant rules revisions recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee at its January 13-15 meeting in Indianapolis, which were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The play clock will continue to start at 25 seconds

(a) prior to a try following a score,

(b) to start a period or overtime series,

(c) following administration of an inadvertent whistle,

(d) following a charged time-out,

(e) following an official’s time-out, with a few exceptions, and

(f) following the stoppage of the play clock by the referee for any other reason.

In all other cases, 40 seconds will be placed on the play clock and start when the ball is declared dead by a game official. 

Previously, the ball was marked ready-for-play when, after it had been placed for a down, the

referee gave the ready-for-play signal and the 25-second count began.

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