The Basics of High School Football

Football is the one of the most watched sports in the U.S and is watched by roughly sixty-four percent of citizens in the United States. Football is a complicated sport, and it may be hard to understand, especially if you have never played football. Whether you are being dragged to a your uncle’s football party or showing your school spirit, this guide will help you understand how the game works, as well as some common football lingo.

The basic objective of football is to score points, and the team with the most points in the end wins. There are multiple ways to score points in football with the most common being a touchdown, six points, which can be achieved when a player crosses the opponent’s end zone. This is followed up by a conversion, a kick between endzone posts for one extra point, making seven total. Teams have another option for a P.A.T (point after touchdown), called a two point conversion; it is set up as a regular down three yards away from the goal line,  and if you run the ball into the endzone, you will score an extra two points making eight in total. A field goal is when a player kicks the football between the goal posts, unrelated to touchdown, they get three points, called a field goal. An uncommon way of scoring in football is when a player on the offensive team is tackled in their own end zone with the football; this is called a safety and is worth two points. The final way to score in football is when the opposing team does not show up to the game and is therefore a forfeit, one point.  

Football itself is a sport with many requirements from a football’s weight of fourteen to fifteen ounces, to the gear worn by players. Required football gear includes a helmet, foam neck brace, jockstrap and cup, mouth guard, thigh, hip and knee pads, gloves, and cleats. The attacking team has four total downs to either score or advance ten yards. If the ten yards are achieved, the down resets back to one, and they have four downs again. Each down ends if nobody catches the ball (called an incompletion,) if the person who catches the ball is tackled to the ground or knocked out of bounds, a touchdown is scored, the game ends. Two possible outcomes of a down can be an interception; where a player on the defensive team catches the ball or when the ball is knocked out of someone’s hands and is called a fumble. These both will end in what is called a turnover, where the two teams switch attack and defense.

Football has many different ways to place your players, and each player has a different role. Wide receivers run far out to avoid other players, left and right guards defend against players rushing or  “blitzing” the quarterback, the quarterback throws the football, left and right tackle players,  that are typically bulkier, defend against blitzes and push back the other team, and the center, who hikes (throws) back the football to the QB and helps the guards. On defense, there are typically two safety players who are in place to stop anyone from sneaking by with the football, two cornerbacks who intercept the wide receivers, two outside linebackers, who watch and make sure nobody breaks through the middle defense, two end guards, who typically are the blitzers, two tackles, who stop running plays towards the line middle of the line of scrimmage, and lastly, the middle linebacker, who reinforces the defensive line of scrimmage.

August through early February, are the times in which Americans are enthralled in one of our nation’s most popular pass times, and hopefully this guide will help you understand the game or make you sound like you understand the game. Remember to come out to an Apex football game and show some support for your hard-working Cougars!

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