This week, MHSAA assistant director Brent Rice explains how high school football rules differ from those at the collegiate and professional levels when it comes to awarding automatic first downs.
Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.
Below is this week's segment - Automatic 1st Downs - Listen
Today we are going to talk about one of the biggest rule difference areas in high school football from those rules used in college and pro games, and that deals with automatic first downs.
When watching that college game on Saturday or the pro game on Sunday, all of us know there are several defensive fouls that give the offense an automatic first down. However, under high school rules, the opposite is true most of the time.
The only high school fouls that result in an automatic first down for the offense are the roughing fouls – roughing the passer, the kicker, the holder and the long snapper. Fouls such as defensive pass interference or any other personal foul do not bring an automatic first down under high school rules.
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Ten unforgettable plays from the 2022 Football Finals (one from each division):
► Taegan Harris runs the kick back 94 yards in Martin's 74-24 win over Merrill in 8-Player Division 1.
► Jacob Gorzinksi throws a 33-yard touchdown pass to Luke Gorzinksi in Powers North Central's 66-26 win over Mendon in 8-Player Division 2.
► Shea Ruddy scores from seven yards out as Ottawa Lake Whiteford defeats Ubly 26-20 in Division 8.
► Derrick Walker scores from two yards out as Jackson Lumen Christi downs Traverse City St. Francis 15-12 in Division 7.
► Timmy Kloska propels Grand Rapids West Catholic to a 59-14 win over Negaunee thanks in part to this 61-yard touchdown run.
► Gladwin defeats Frankenmuth 10-7 in Division 5 on this field goal from Treyton Siegert with two seconds left.
► Jacob DeHaan scores from 54 yards out as Grand Rapids South Christian wins in Division 4, 28-0 over Goodrich.
► Detroit Martin Luther King repeats as Division 3 champ, defeating Muskegon 56-27 as Sterling Anderson scores from 80 yards out.
► Jack Yanachik catches the 38-yard touchdown pass from Brady Drogosh as Warren De La Salle Collegiate downs Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 52-13 in Division 2.
► Bryce Underwood keeps it 48 yards for the touchdown as Belleville defeats Caledonia 35-17 in Division 1.