3

In high school football, can an offensive lineman legally catch a lateral pass? Does it make any difference if a receiver is covering him from the snap?

  • There may be an issue with the jersey number. – JeffO Oct 19 '15 at 3:32
  • You mean specifically, a lineman who is not an eligible receiver? (IE, someone with a lineman's number, who is lined up in a lineman's spot and not declared to the referee as eligible)? Or are you asking if someone who is declared eligible but is wearing a lineman's number? – Joe Oct 19 '15 at 14:13
  • Jersey # is not an issue with "lateral" passes. (My rule references come directly from the 2016 NFHS Football Rules Book.) Lateral passes are grouped with backwards passes. Rule 2-31-5 A backward pass is a pass thrown with its initial direction parallel with or toward the runner's end line. Rule 7-5-6 Pass eligibility rules apply only to a legal forward pass. Rule 7-5-6-a. All A players eligible by position and number include those who, at the time of the snap, are on the ends of their scrimmage line or legally behind the line (possible total of six) and are numbered 1 to 49 or 80 to 99. – M. Travis Volker Jan 13 '17 at 0:27
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As far as I understand, from reading the most recent NHFS rulebook I can find online, there is no specific difference here between high school and any other level of play. As such, any player may receive a lateral or backward pass, regardless of position or number; only passes deemed forward passes are restricted to eligible recievers.

Rule 7-4

Article 1... During any down, any player in possession may make a backward pass [...]

Article 2... If a fumble or backward pass is caught or recovered by any player, he may advance.

  • Agreed. 2016 NFHS Football Rules Book Rule 7-5-6 Pass eligibility rules apply only to a legal forward pass. The following players are eligible pass receivers: a. All A players eligible by position and number include those who, at the time of the snap, are on the ends of their scrimmage line or legally behind the line (possible total of six) and are numbered 1 to 49 or 80 to 99. – M. Travis Volker Jan 13 '17 at 0:36
  • This does not apply to planned loose balls: 2016 NFHS Football Rules Book Rule 7-2-8 Any A (offense or kick team) player on his line of scrimmage may not advance a planned loose ball in the vicinity of the snapper. – M. Travis Volker Jan 13 '17 at 0:42
  • This does not apply to handing the ball forward: 2016 NFHS Football Rules Book Rule 7-3-2 No player may hand the ball forward except during a scrimmage down before a change of possession, provided both players are in or behind the neutral zone and it is to: a. A lineman who has clearly faced his end line by moving both feet in a half-turn and is at least 1 yard behind his line when he receives the ball. b. A back or a teammate who, at the snap, was on an end of his line and was not the snapper nor adjacent to the snapper. – M. Travis Volker Jan 13 '17 at 0:47
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T, wearing #75, lines up in the left tackle position. After the snap, T fakes blocking and then takes a few steps back and to his left. QB fakes a hand off to RB and, while rolling right, stops, turns around, and throws the ball backwards(from the original line of scrimmage) to T. T proceeds to run it in for a touchdown.

Ruling: Touchdown. Although T does not have a jersey number permitting him to catch a forward pass, he (and any other player on the offense) may catch a backward lateral pass.

  • This looks convincing, but what's the source? – Philip Kendall Dec 21 '16 at 6:34
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    Copy-pasta answers, especially without attribution and without further explanation, are very poor form. Either fix these issues or remove the material (which you are unlikely to have permission to use, currently). – Nij Dec 21 '16 at 6:39

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