Capital Area Minor Football Association
Complete Tackle Football Rules

                                                                     Mosquito (Ages 9-11)                Revised September 27, 2011


    The purpose of our Mosquito tackle football program is to introduce youth aged 9-11 to the game of tackle football. Players will learn the fundamentals ,i.e. passing, running, blocking, tackling and kicking in a fun environment. Players weighing more than 110 pounds (a 5 pound variance will be allowed) will not be permitted to play the running back or quarterback positions or carry the ball on a designed running play from scrimmage. All players are eligible to play the pass receiving positions of end and slotback.
Note: The Center keeper play is is no longer a legal play in this league.


    All players will be supplied with a complete set of tackle football gear. This includes a helmet, shoulder pads, mouthguard, hip pads, thigh pads, knee pads, jersey and football pants.
    It is recommended that each child wear football or soccer cleats to improve their maneuverability and prevent injuries.  
     Cleats with metal tips are not permitted.
    The league will use the Martin 301 rubber football. This smaller ball will provide a better grip for our young players.
    Game fields will be 80 yards between the goalposts with 10 yard end zones. Fields will be 40 yards wide.

Game Length:

    All games will be preceded by a practice/warm-up of about 30 minutes on weekdays and 60 minutes on weekends. Games will consist of four 20 minute quarters straight time. Each team will be permitted 2 timeouts per half. The half time break will be about 5 minutes. Evening games in October will consist of four fifteen minute quarters.

Number of Players:

    Each team will have 10 players on the field at any time. Every player on the team will be a starter on either offense or defense. No benchwarmers! Both teams must have at least 12 players dressed to play 10 aside. For each player below 12 dressed,  both teams will play with one less player on the field. The offense will first remove end players and then slotbacks. Teams will forfeit if they have less than 8 players dressed.
    Suggested offensive and defensive formations for 10 aside are shown below. The offense must always have two ends, two guards and a center on the line of scrimmage:


SB         QB          SB

                                                                               TE   G   C   G                        SE


CB     DE  NG  DE      CB

OLB     MLB     OLB

DB                DB

The C and G positions are not allowed to catch passes.


Suggested setup:

O        O

O                      O


O        O         O        O         O        O


X     X     X      X     X     X      X     X     X      X

0- Receiving Team

X- Kickoff Team

    The ball will be kicked off from mid-field using a kicking tee. Kicking team players cannot cross the kickoff line before the ball is kicked. On side kickoffs are permitted. However, the ball must travel at least 10 yards in order for the kicking team to recover.


    We will have officials for our games. Orange pylons will be placed at the goal line corners, back end zone corners, and at mid-field. Each team must recruit one parent or assistant coach to rule on out of bounds on each side line. These parents will raise their arms to notify the referee that a ball carrier has stepped out of bounds.

Offensive Plays:

     Teams will play 4 down football with the one yard neutral zone. The offence must throw a legal forward pass on at least one of the first three downs in each series of downs. Failure to do so will result in an "Illegal Procedure" penalty. Officials will not stop play until the ball is dead. Attempting to pass and getting sacked will not satisfy this rule. The ball must be thrown as legal forward pass. Forward passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage and towards the sideline area must travel at least 10 yards to satisfy this rule. A lateral pass will not satisfy this rule. Officials should point this out to a team that has just thrown a lateral pass. A 5 yard penalty will be applied and the down repeated. The offensive team will still be obligated to pass the ball again after the penalty has been applied. 
     The defensive team has the option to decline the penalty, let the play stand and bring up fourth down. The offensive team can run the ball on fourth down.
    Blocking is permitted but only above the waist and not in the head area. No pushing with the palms of the hands is allowed. No holding is permitted. Blockers should grasp the wrist of one hand and close the fist of the held hand. From this position blockers may push defenders away from the ball carrier.
    From the time the referee blows time in a team will have 40 seconds to put the ball in play. This rule will not be enforced until the second half of the regular season. 


      The defence can have as many defensive lineman as the the offense has interior offensive lineman (ie. C, G, TE). Linebackers and defensive backs are not allowed to blitz. Defensive ends cannot line up wider than an "outside shade" on the most outside interior offensive lineman, (i.e. G, TE). The defensive end's inside foot cannot be outside of the offensive lineman's outside foot.
       Linebackers and defensive halfbacks must line up at least 3 yards off the line of scrimmage. Corners are exempt from this rule.
       If this rule is violated the defence will be penalized 5 yards for "illegal defence". 
       This rule is not in effect when there is 2 yards or less to go for a first down or when the offense is scrimmaging inside the defensive team's 3 yard line. 
       This rule also applies to special teams.
Any receiver player lined up on the line of scrimmage must be at least 3 yards outside the G on the snap to NOT be classified as a TE for the purposes of this rule. Any player lined up behind the line of scrimmage (other than the QB) must be at least 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage OR 3 yards outside the G on the snap to NOT be classified as a TE for the purposes of this rule.


    A team may punt the ball if it is unable to score. No rush on the punter is permitted. The punter must stand at least 7 yards back from the line of scrimmage and receive a snap from the center. Fake punts are permitted. The 5 yard restraining zone violation rule applies to all players on the kicking team including the kicker.

Converts, Field Goals:

    Teams may attempt a convert either by running, passing or kicking.
    A running ,passing or kicking convert shall start from the 5 yard line. A kicked convert will be worth 2 points. A running or passing convert will be worth 1 point.
    A kicking convert shall be attempted by having the center snap the ball to a holder who will place the ball on a kicking tee. The defensive team is not permitted to cross the line of scrimmage until the Referee has counted three "steamboats". They are allowed to jump up in the air in an attempt to block the kick.
    The same rules apply to a field goal attempt.

Distribution of Offensive Plays:

    Coaches are encouraged to let all eligible players have at least one opportunity to carry the ball or have a pass thrown to them during each game.

Blowout Score Rule:

   Once a team takes and maintains an 18 point lead the starting running backs can no longer play offence. They are still permitted to play defence.


    Unnecessary Roughness- Anything that results in a player being taken to the ground with excessive force. Facemask grabbing, contact out of bounds. 10 yards.

    Rough Play- Where a player has more than one deliberate Unnecessary Roughness penalty in a game, a 25 yard penalty will be applied and the offending player ejected from the game.

    Illegal Procedure- Offense must have a center, two guards, and two ends on the line of scrimmage. Players cannot move before ball is snapped. When a team does not throw a pass during its first three downs. Time count violation when a team takes longer than 40 seconds to put the ball in play. 5 yards. Repeat down. Defense may decline penalty.

    Offside- Defence cannot cross line of scrimmage before ball is snapped. 5 yards. Repeat down. Offense may decline penalty.

    Holding- Blockers cannot hold defenders or push them with an open hand. 10 yards. Repeat down. Defence may decline penalty.

    No Yards- Punt team defenders including the kicker must give punt returner a 5 yard cushion until he touches the ball. 10 yards from point where tackled..

    Clipping- Blockers cannot block defenders from behind. 10 yards. Repeat down. Defence may decline penalty.

    Pass Interference- Neither pass receivers nor defenders can push one another on pass routes. 10 yards. Repeat down on offensive interference. Defence may decline penalty.

    Unsportsmanlike Conduct- Taunting opposing players or using foul language. 10 yard penalty.
    High Tackle- Player tackles an opposing player around the neck area. 5 yard penalty. 

Overall Rules:

    Where an aspect of the game has not been addressed in the preceding text the "Canadian Rulebook for Tackle Football" shall apply.