Kickoff Rules


New member
Not sure where to post this, but I need clarification on kickoff, particularly onside kicks.
Here are the scenarios, assuming the “neutral” zone is the 15 yards between the teams.

1. Receiving team enters the neutral zone to get a ball that hasn’t traveled 15 yards:
- Can the receiving team block opponents before touching the ball?
- Can kicking team hit receiving team before receiving team touches the ball?

2. Receiving team stays behind 15 yard mark waiting on the ball:
- Can kicking team hit receiving team before ball crosses the 15 yard line, but the hit takes place behind the 15 yard mark (outside the neutral zone)?

Thanks, sorry to be such a noob!


Active member
I'm not sure about the first part of the question, but calling that 15 yards between the kick and the point of reception a "neutral zone" is incorrect because the kicking can still knock the dog out of a player on the receiving team even if they don't recover the ball.

Honestly, I would onside kick every single time just to get a chance to put hits on the other team.


Active member
The kicking team cannot block until they can legally touch the ball. That doesn't happen until the ball is touched by a receiving team player or it has traveled 15 yards. The receivers are allowed to block, and in that case the kicking team player can defend himself.


Active member
We see this called wrong very often. My rough guess is something like 40-60% of the sixman games I see are called wrong or rather not called.

When you read the rule book concerning kicks it does use the "neutral zone" terminology. Essentially, the kicking team may not initiate contact until they can legally recover the ball. Stated differently, they cant initiate contact until it travels 15 yards (6 man) or is touched by the receiving team.

Its tedious reading but you can find it here, I found this link through the Texas UIL website. ... tions.aspx

In defense of the underappreciated and under respected officials, the calls in this scenario have improved a great deal in the last few years. In the not so distant past, it was almost never called correctly.

Talk with your officials, dont act like a moron, so young officials will stick around to become good ones.

PS The rule interpretation is the exact same thing Jason above is saying.


New member
Thank you for all of your replies. If anyone else wants to chime in, feel free. I do think you guys have covered it pretty well. If the receiving team goes out to block, they invite contact, but it isn’t illegal. If a lone player goes forward to catch a ball, he can’t be hit until he touches it, but then he’s fair game. The kicking team can’t touch anyone unless a). that player has a touched the ball, or b) the ball has crossed the 15 years mark and now everyone is legal! Easy enough.

FCSA football

Active member
Just one addition,
If the kick off is “pooch” kicked, meaning it goes in the air for the 15 yards, the receiver, wherever he is, may signal for a “fair catch” and may not be touched or interfered with.
Just saying.........
A player attempting to catch a kick may not be interfered with whether he gives a fair catch signal or not. Kick catch interference and tackling a player who has completed a fair catch are separate fouls. The only thing a fair catch signal does for his catch protection is extend it until the ball touches the ground as opposed to when he touches it.

FCSA football

Active member
Woah Zebra, where can I find that in writing? I’ve never heard that explanation ANY time I’ve asked for a clarification. That’s good info! I’ll print it out and carry it with me !
Straight from the rule book. 6-4-1-a and -c, and 6-5-1-b. The first two references cover any player attempting to catch a kick. The third covers players who have given a valid fair catch signal.
There is one thing that hasn’t been explicitly mentioned here, but people often get wrong. Unlike pass interference, there doesn’t actually have to be contact to have kick catch interference. If a kicking team player jumps up, beats the receiving team player to the ball, and touches the ball before the receiving team player has a chance to catch it, that is a foul.

Also remember that by rule “to catch” a kick always means before the ball has hit the ground. After the ball hits the ground it can only be recovered, not caught. That means that there can be no foul for KCI. Also remember that there is an exception for that rule where if the ball is driven directly into the ground and pops up it is treated as if it never bounced.