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: Simultaneous catch (NFHS Football Rule 7-5-4)
The receiver and defender both go airborne and simultaneously gain possession of a legal forward pass near the goal line and return to the ground where:
Situation 1: they alight in the field of play inbounds;
Situation 2: they alight in the end zone with the ball;
Situation 3: the receiver lands in the end zone and the defender in the field of play inbounds;
Situation 4: the defender comes down in the end zone and the receiver lands in the field of play;
Situation 5: the receiver lands in the end zone and the defender lands out of bounds.
Situation 1: The ball is dead and belongs to the offense at the yard line through the foremost point of the ball when receiver and defender contacted the ground inbounds.
Situation 2: It is a touchdown.
Situations 3 and 4: The ball becomes dead and the pass is complete at the yard line through the foremost point of the ball when the players contacted the ground inbounds. If the ball has penetrated the plane of the goal line in either situation, it is a touchdown.
Situation 5: Incomplete pass.