To provide better insight into the challenges of being a high school football game official and help fans learn more about the rules, USA TODAY High School Sports is working with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) on a weekly series about high school football rules.
The material is drawn from the NFHS Football Case Book for 2015. Note that member associations of the NFHS independently make decisions regarding compliance with or modification of these playing rules for the student-athletes in their respective states. Texas and Massachusetts do not use NFHS Football Rules.
Today’s topic: Roughing the Passer (NFHS Football Rule 9-4-4)
Situation 1: The quarterback rolls out on a pass-option and passes from behind the neutral zone and is subsequently contacted by a defensive player who could have avoided the contact but renewed his charge after the pass.
Ruling: Roughing the passer
Situation 2: The quarterback rolls out on a pass-option and is two yards beyond the neutral zone when he passes and the defensive player continues his charge and contacts him.
Ruling: It cannot be roughing the passer. However, though the quarterback lost his protection as a passer when he passed from beyond the neutral zone the contact could still be judged by the game official to be a personal foul.