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Columbia Youth Football League

Columbia Youth Football League

3rd & 4th Grade Tackle Football Rules

2024 CMYAC 3rd/4th Grade Tackle Division Rules

1. General Rules:

A) Rosters: A maximum number of 40 players and a minimum of 15 players per team are suggested at final certification.  All players must be on final roster as of August 15, 20xx. Players must a minimum of 7 years old (as of July 31st). All players must be entering 4th grade or under. Any player turning 11 years old prior to August 1, 20xx of the current season is ineligible.


B)  Weight Limits:  A maximum weight of 115 lbs will be enforced for running or advancing the ball.  All players will be weighed in the presence of a Board Member of their respected Club.   A roster with players’ name, jersey number and weight will be provided to all other clubs in the CMYAC.  All players exceeding the established weight limit will have a yellow stripe that runs from front to back on their helmets.  Any fumbles/interceptions recovered by a striped player will be placed at the spot of the recovery/interception.

C) Official Team Rosters:
 All organizations shall be given rosters of teams on its schedule. Players Names, Height, Weight and Jersey number shall be listed on rosters. Dates for Height and Weight Certification shall be determined in July.

D) Lines to Gain & Field Set-Up: All tackle fields shall be divided into 5 or 10 yard zones and conforms to MSHSAA rules. The Line of Scrimmage (LOS) extends from sideline to sideline. All tackle fields shall be marked with extended yard lines to mark Coach's Boxes as follows: Coach's Box extend from mid-field to the 20 yard lines. No persons other than League Officials, Referees, Coaches; Players are allowed in the box. Team may be penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 15 yard penalty shall be assessed if other persons are in the box.

E) Ball Sizes:
 The home team shall supply the game ball. The visiting team may use their ball if preferred.

·   3rd/4th Grade: Peewee/K2 football


F) Jersey numbers shall not be restricted a certain position as in high school rules.

G) Fighting:
 Any player ejected for fighting shall be subjected to an incident review by the CMYAC Board. Any player involved in a fight may be suspended for a period of not less than one game or up to the remainder of the season and/or permanently from CMYAC.

H) Playing Up
: A younger player can be moved up to the next grade with Registration Committee approval only. Once the player is moved, player must remain in that Division throughout the season.

I) Injuries, Accidents & Safety Equipment:
 Certified Athletic Trainers are on-site for all CMYAC games played in Columbia to assess and treat sports injuries. "911" shall be called for immediate medical assistance for any potentially serious or life-threatening injuries.

1. Return to Play: The Athletic Trainer has the sole authority to determine a player's eligibility to return to play after an injury sustained during a practice or game.

2. Concussions: In the event a player appears to have suffered a potential concussion, the Athletic Trainer has the sole authority to allow or disallow a player to return to play.  Any Coach who returns a player with a suspected concussion to play without consent of the Athletic Trainer or other Medical expert shall be immediately ejected from the game and be suspended from coaching indefinitely.  When In Doubt, Sit Them Out!

3. Safety Equipment: All players shall wear NFHS approved equipment.  Jerseys and/or pants shall cover all player equipment.  Players shall only use mouth guards which are tethered to their helmet to ensure proper use and/or prevent accidental dental injury.


2. Games & Play Rules: 

A) Minimum Play Rule (MPR):   Each player will be required to  play a minimum of SIX (6) plays per half.  Coaching staffs shall ensure each player meets the MPR.

B) Official Rules: CMYAC shall play using MSHSAA rules with the additions/exceptions hereby termed "Modified Rules".

C) Game Clock:
 All games shall be played with a running clock and shall consist of four (4) fifteen (15) minute quarters. The Game Clock shall only stop for the following: 1) a timeout; 2) after an extra point attempt; 3) a delay of game penalty or 4) injuries until the final two minutes of each half. The last two minutes of each half shall be played in accordance with MSHSSA rules.

D) Mercy Rule:
 If at any point in the game, one team has a 28 point advantage, a continuous running clock shall be in effect until the differential is less than 28 points. The clock shall only stop for timeouts and injuries. This includes the last two minutes of each half.

1. Times outs: The leading team may not use time outs during final 2 minutes of each half when the Mercy Rule is in effect.

2. Kick-Offs under Mercy Rule: In lieu of a kick-off after the leading team scores, the ball shall be placed at the trailing team's 40 yard line. If the trailing team scores, the kick-off is a live kick return.


E) Play clock: The ball must be put into play within 40 seconds after the ready-to-play whistle. Offensive team shall be penalized five yards for delay of game if it fails to put the ball in play by either snap or free kick before the play clock expires. The Game Clock shall stop for the delay of game penalty and resume running when the ball is put into play on the next play.

F) Half time:
 Shall consist of a twelve (12) minute period plus three (3) minutes for warm ups.  Total of 15 minutes for halftime

G) Regular Season Overtime Period:
 The ball shall be placed at the 20 yard line and each team shall get one set of downs to score.  If the score remains tied after this set of downs then the game shall stand as a tie.

H) Post Season Overtime Periods:
 The ball shall be placed at the 20 yard line and each team shall get one set of downs to score. If the score remains tied after this set of downs then the process shall be repeated until the score is no longer tied.

I) Chains: The "home" team is responsible for working the chains. The chains must stay on the home team side of the field.

3. Modified Rules


3rd/4th  Grade: MSHSAA rules shall be used, with the following exceptions:


1.      Kick-off: There are NO kickoffs.   Play starts on your own 20 Yard Line. 

2.      Extra Point Kicking: Place kicking shall be allowed as a "dead" ball play. Defense must take a knee.  A deep snap is required.  Ball holder must be on a knee, receive and place the ball for kick.  If ball touches ground during the snap, holder may retrieve the ball and resume ball placement.  The Kicker then has 8 seconds to kick the ball.   If the kicker doesn’t kick within 8 seconds, the attempt is failed.

3.      Points after Touchdown

·         extra point for run or pass conversion;

·         extra points for kicking the ball the through uprights.

4.      Punting:  There is NO Punting.  Punts are a 30 yard walk off.  If you inside the opponents 30 yard line, and decide to punt, this is an automatic touchback.  Resulting in the opposing team starting at their 20 Yard Line. 

5.      Safety: After a safety is scored, the ball is put into play by at the 30 yard line.  

6.  Defense

1.   Defense will NOT line up over center at any time.   Defense Tackles must line up in front of the Offensive Guards. 

2.   Blitzing is allowed.   Teams are NOT allowed to walk up blitzes.   


7.  “5th Quarter” Rule

                At the end of game, if there is a need for a team to get some play time for certain players, an untimed, unscored series of Offensive and Defensive Plays will be played.  Each team will get 10-15 plays of offense and defense.  Number of plays will be determined by the coaches. 


8.   Coaches on the field
ONLY offensive coaches may be on the field.   No coaches are allowed on the field during defense.   Coaches on the field can not give instructions once the QB has started his cadence.   Coaches must back up 10 yard behind the RB/QB.


4.  Penalties

1st Offense from a player - 15 yard penalty and a warning.

2nd offense from same player - 15 yard penalty and ejection from the game.

3rd offense from same player - 15 yard penalty and 2 game suspension.

15 yard penalty

Chop Block
15 Yard Penalty

BlindSide Block
15 yard Penalty

Aggressive Tackling Around the Head/Neck

1st Offense from a player - 15 yard penalty and a warning.

2nd offense from same player - 15 yard penalty and ejection from the game.

3rd offense from same player - 15 yard penalty and 2 game suspension.


 means that a player takes aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with forcible contact that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball. Some indicators of targeting include but are not limited to:

Launch — a player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make forcible contact in the head or neck area

A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area, even though one or both feet are still on the ground

Leading with helmet, shoulder, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area

Lowering the head before attacking by initiating forcible contact with the crown of the helmet.

Horse-Collar - All players are prohibited from grabbing the inside back collar of the shoulder pads or jersey, or the inside collar of the side of the shoulder pads or jersey, and immediately pulling the ball carrier down.


Chop Block - A Chop Block is a block by the offense in which one offensive player (designated as A1 for purposes of this rule) blocks a defensive player in the area of the thigh or lower while another offensive player (A2) engages that same defensive player above the waist.

Blind Side Block - A blindside block is defined as a player initiating a block when his path is toward or parallel to his own end line, and he makes forcible contact to his opponent with his helmet, forearm, or shoulder.


Aggressive Tackling around the Head/Neck – Any player purposely attacking the head or neck area of a ball carrier in order to bring them down to the ground.  For example, wrapping up around the head and turning/twisting the head to bring them down in an unsafe manner.




Columbia Youth Football League
PO Box 7052 
Columbia, Missouri 65202

Email: [email protected]

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