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Missouri High School Football Officials
Rule 4 Section 2


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Rule 4- Ball in Play, Dead Ball, and Out of Bounds


Section 2- Dead Ball and End of the Down


  • Art. 1- An official shall indicate the ball remains dead by sounding his whistle immediately when a foul occurs before a snap or free kick.


  • Art. 2- The ball becomes dead and the down is ended:
    • When a runner goes out of bounds, is held so his forward progress is stopped or allows any part of his person other than his hand or foot to touch the ground.
        • Exception- The ball remains live if, at the snap, a place kick holder with his knee on the ground and with a teammate in kicking position.
      • Catches or recovers the snap while his knee(s) is on the ground and places the ball for a kick, or if he rises to advance hand, kick, or pass.
      • Rises and catches an errant snap and immediately returns his knee to the ground and places the ball for a kick or again rises to advance, hand, pass, or kick.
        • Note- The ball becomes dead if the place-kick holder muffs the snap or fumbles and recovers after his knees have been off the ground and he then touches the ground with other than his hand or foot while in possession of the ball.
    • When a live ball goes out of bounds
    • When any forward pass (legal or illegal) is incomplete, or is simultaneously caught by opposing players.
    • When any legal kick or scrimmage kick
      • Which is not a scoring attempt or which is a grounded scoring attempt, breaks the plane of the goal line
      • Which is a scoring attempt, while in flight touches K player in Rs end zone, or after breaking the plane of Rs goal line has apparently failed
        • Exception- If a scoring attempt kick touches an upright or an R player and caroms through the goal, the touching is ignored and the attempt is successful.
    • When any loose ball:
      • Is simultaneously caught or recovered by opposing players
      • Is on the ground motionless and no player attempts to secure possession.
      • Touches, or is touched, by anything inbounds other than a player, substitute, replaced player, an official, the ground or authorized equipment.  In this case the ball will be put in play in accordance with the procedure for an inadvertent whistle as in 4-2-3b
    • When the kickers catch or recover any free kick anywhere, and when the kickers catch or recover a scrimmage kick beyond the neutral zone and when the kickers are first to touch a scrimmage kick after it has come to rest beyond the neutral zone and between the goal lines.
    • Following a valid or invalid fair catch signal given by any member of the receiving team when a scrimmage kick or free kick is caught or recovered by any member of the receiving team beyond, on or behind the neutral zone.
    • When a touchdown or field goal occurs
    • During a try if B secures possession or as soon as it apparent that a kick has failed to score.
    • When an official sounds his whistle inadvertently.
    • When the helmet comes completely off a player who is in possession of the ball.


  • Art. 3- Inadvertent whistle during a down, or a down in which the penalty for a foul is declined, if an inadvertent whistle occurs while:

Rule 4- Ball in Play, Dead Ball, and Out of Bounds


Section 2- Dead Ball and End of the Down   (Cont.)




o        A legal forward pass or snap is in flight, or during a legal kick, the down shall be replayed

    • The ball is loose following a backwards pass, fumble, illegal forward pass, or illegal kick, the team last in possession may choose to punt the ball in play where possession was lost or replay the down
    • The ball is in possession, the team may choose to accept the play at the spot or replay the down.