Expect heat adjustments, new rules for Alabama high school football

Alabama High School Kickoff Football
Sweetwater High School (purple) vs. Wadley High School (white) at the Super 7 Football Championships in Protective Stadium on December 2, 2021. (Jacob Blankenship/Bham Now)

If you think it’s unreasonably hot outside, imagine what football players are thinking as they strap on pads for football practice and run out on the field. This year, due to excessive heat, AHSAA has made some heat-related changes for high school kickoff, as well as implemented some new rules. Here’s what you need to know.

Alabama high school football kickoff times pushed back, heat timeouts added

Sparkman High School Head Football Coach LaRon White coaching before the season opener. (Michael Seale / The Bama Buzz)

The 2023 AHSAA Kickoff Classic, which was originally scheduled for 7PM, has been moved to 8PM (8:06PM, to be precise) due to the excessive heat Alabamians are experiencing. Here are the details:

  • Beaureguard vs. Selma: Thursday, August 24, 8:06PM
  • Thompson vs. Opelika: Friday, August 25, 8:06PM

Other AHSAA schools can follow suit, moving their games back to catch cooler kickoff temperatures.

Each year, AHSAA adds extra heat timeouts, and they’re especially needed this year. Midway through each quarter, players will get a timeout, and timeouts between quarters will be longer than normal.

BONUS: If you’re a high school football fan looking to beat the heat, you can livestream all the games‚ÄĒindoors.

New rules implemented by AHSAA

In addition to the measures taken due to excessive heat, fans and players can expect to see some new rules this season. Here are the new AHSAA rules:

  • Excessive penalty enforcements for offensive fouls that occur behind the line of scrimmage have been eliminated. For instance, a team on offense at its own 40-yard line that is called for holding 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage at its own 30-yard line would be faced with first and 20 from its 30-yard line rather than the almost insurmountable task of first and 30 from its own 20-yard line.¬†
  • In a change that addresses another goal of every NFHS rules committee‚ÄĒrisk minimization‚ÄĒadditional criteria were approved to help identify players who should be defined as defenseless receivers related to application of unnecessary or excessive contact.¬†
  • The committee also approved a clarification to the intentional grounding rule change implemented last year. The change in Rule 7-5-2EXCEPTION permits the exception for intentional grounding to the first and only player to possess the ball after the snap ends.¬†
  • Another change was approved in Rule 1-5-3 regarding player equipment, specifically player towels, which now may contain one manufacturer‚Äôs logo and/or one school logo, neither exceeding 2¬ľ square inches. Towels must be a solid color, but now do not have to be the same color for each player. Towels may not, however, be the color of the ball or penalty flag.

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Sarah Gronberg
Sarah Gronberg
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