2024 Helena Small Fry By-Laws


Section 1.1 - There shall be three (3) divisions in the Small Fry Football program. The three (3) divisions are as follows: Junior Division – 5th Grade, Junior Division – 6th Grade and Senior Division. Each division shall have specific eligibility requirements that must be met for participation. The physical size or the date of birth of a player shall have no bearing on which division he/she plays. Grade level is the sole criteria.

Section 1.2 - Junior Division – 5th Grade Eligibility Requirements - Only students in the fifth grade are eligible. Fifth grade players with a strip weight of over 110 pounds are allowed to play center, offensive guard, or offensive tackle. They may not play a quarterback, backfield, or end position. Junior Division – 5th Grade players, regardless of size, may play all defensive position. They may legally advance the ball if they intercept a pass or recover a fumble

Section 1.3 – Junior Division 6th Grade Eligibility Requirements – Only students in the 6th grade are eligible. Players with a strip weight of over 120 pounds are allowed to play center, offensive guard, or offensive tackle. They may not play a quarterback, backfield, or end position. Junior Division 6th Grade players, regardless of size, may play all defensive position. They may legally advance the ball if they intercept a pass or recover a fumble.

Section 1.4 - Senior Division Eligibility Requirements - Students in the seventh and eighth grade are eligible. Senior Division players with a strip weight of over 150 pounds are allowed to play center, offensive guard, or offensive tackle. They may not play a quarterback, backfield, or end position. Senior Division players, regardless of size, may play any defensive position. They may legally advance- the ball if they intercept a pass or recover a fumble.

Section 1.5 - Determination of Player Weight - The weight restriction imposed on certain offensive players is meant to prevent injuries. The determination of player weight will be made only once during each football season. Each player will be weighed at equipment check out day. That weight measurement will be the sole criteria for determining whether a player is eligible to advance the ball on offense.


Section 2.1 - The Board will attempt to secure the best game officials for each game. Whenever possible there will be MOA. officials. When these officials are unavailable, the Board will use individuals with football experience to serve as officials. In some situations, the opposing coaches may be asked to find a knowledgeable parent or spectator to assist.

Section 2.2 - Whenever possible, all Junior Division games will be officiated by a referee, an umpire, and a linesman. One of those officials will serve as official timekeeper.

Section 2.3 - Whenever possible, all Senior Division games will he officiated by a referee, an umpire, a linesman, and a line judge. One of those officials will serve as official timekeeper.

Section 2.4 - Other required game personnel include three team volunteers to operate the sideline chains and down marker. The home team is responsible for running the chains and down marker in the first half and the away team is responsible for the second half.

Section 2.5 - Game fees will be paid to all referees, umpires, head-linesmen and line judges.


Section 3.1 - Teams are composed of all eligible players who reside in specific geographic areas. Those geographic areas are set by the Board. They generally follow grade school boundaries. Maps of the geographic areas will be available for coaches and the public. Players who reside within the geographic areas can only play on the team designated for that geographic area unless an exception is approved by the Board.

Section 3.2 - Any exceptions for the rule must be brought to the full board for approval and will only be approved if a hardship is proven.

Section 3.3 – Anyone caught using fake addresses to circumvent geographical team formation may be suspended by the league for the season.

Section 3.4 – Late signups may be assigned to teams outside of their geographical area based on team size. Priority for geographic sign ups will be given based on sign up date.

Section 3.5 – The HSFF Roster Committee will make recommendations to the board following the sign-up period. The geographic location of the student will be the main criteria, but number of signups may create a need for the committee to combine geographic regions or transfer some based on the sign-up date.


Section 4.1 - All registration is done on the HSFF website and begins at 9AM May 1st.

Section 4.2 - Registration responsibilities of the player's parents or guardians include:

a) Completing the player registration online in a timely manner. There will be late fees assessed as outlined on the website.;

b) Players are not considered registered until full payment is made.

Section 4.3 - Concussions Requirements and Return To Play Policy is as follows:

a) Return to Play - In accordance with USA Football guidelines, a coach or official shall remove a youth athlete from participation at the time the youth exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion. The youth cannot return to play until he/she is evaluated by a licensed health care professional and receives written clearance to return to play from the licensed health care professional.

b) Athletes’ and Parents’ Awareness and Notification - During online registration the athlete and parents/legal guardians must acknowledge they have read and understand the information regarding concussions.

Section 4.7 - Refund Policy - The policy of HSFF is to issue no refunds after a child has been assigned to a team. Team assignments occur in August every year. Prior to a player being assigned to an official team, a refund of the registration fee less a $50 administrative handling fee will be issued. If there are extenuating circumstances after team assignments (i.e. injury, illness, moving out of the area, etc.), parents can appeal in writing for a refund (less a $50 administrative handling fee). An official notification must be sent in writing to league administration (helenasmallfry@gmail.com) requesting the refund and arranging for the return of all equipment and discount cards if applicable before a refund is processed. Refunds will be issued on September 30th.


Section 5.1 - The Board will issue protective equipment for each player in the Small Fry Football program. Exceptions to use of that equipment must be made in writing and be approved by the Board. Coaches shall continually inspect and approve the equipment used by each player on their team. The following required equipment shall be worn by all players beginning with the first contact practice and throughout the remainder of the football season. Failure to wear the required equipment will result in the disqualification of the player from participation until correction is made, A player shall wear:

· Helmet - A helmet provided or approved by the HSFF Equipment Manager which is secured by a properly fastened chinstrap;

· Mouthguard - All players must wear the mouth guard during practice and games;

· Padded Football Pants – Football pants provided by or approved by the HSFF equipment manager The approved pants will be equipped with proper hip, thigh, knee and tailbone pads;

· Jerseys - HSFF will provide game jerseys as part of the player registration fee.

· Shoes - Any soft or semi-soft soled tennis or basketball shoe will be allowed. Cleats will be allowed as long as they are molded non-removable rubber cleats only.

Section 5.2 - The Board shall not allow illegal equipment to be worn by any player. Types of equipment which shall always be declared illegal include but not limited to:

a) Projecting metal or hard substance on clothes or person.

b) Any substance such as leather, rubber, plastic, plaster, or fiberglass which is hard in its final form and worn on the elbow, hand, wrist or forearm must be covered in a minimum of 1/2 inch padding. Padding must be inspected, and thickness must be agreed upon by coaches from both teams before the game. If a coach does not think the thickness meets requirements, then the padding must be inspected by a board member before the player can take the field. Any player in a cast must have written permission from a parent to be playing in the cast.

c) Knee braces made of hard unyielding material unless hinges are covered on both sides and all of its edges overlapped and worn under the pants. Unless covering is provided by the manufacturer, any portion of the brace made of hard material and extending below the pants must be covered.

d) Forearm pads, hand pads or gloves, unless made entirely or soft nonabrasive, non-hardening material which poses no danger to the wearer or other players.

e) Athletic tape may be used at each end to anchor such pads.

f) Tape, bandage or support wrap on the hand or forearm, unless made of non-hardening, nonabrasive, and necessary to protect an existing injury.

g) Shin guards which are not covered in the same manner as thigh guards.

h) Ball colored towels, pads, or gloves.

i) Any slippery or sticky substance of a foreign nature on equipment or exposed part of the body.

j) Helmet adornments unless approved in advance by the Board.

k) Tinted visors are not allowed unless accompanied by a doctor’s note. Clear visors are acceptable.


Section 6.1 - There shall be no Small Fry Football practices before the first date allowed of the current league calendar.

Section 6.2 - Players shall not engage in physical contact (blocking and tackling) until they have had at least 3 days of non-padded non-contact practices. After the initial 3 days of non-contact, players are required to have an additional 5 days of practice with pads before they will be allowed to play in a game.

Section 6.3 - All players shall wear required equipment at all practice sessions involving physical contact.

Section 6.4 - Practice sessions may be held Monday through Friday, at the discretion of the coach. No practice session shall be longer than two hours. It is recommended that after school begins, practice sessions be held Monday through Thursday with "B" team players being given credit for a practice by virtue of playing in the "B" team game. It is further recommended that the Friday practice be a one-hour, no-pads, pre-game practice.


Section 7.1 - The Small Fry Football Association, Inc. shall secure an appropriate level of health insurance, liability insurance and storage insurance to adequately protect players, officials, members, and equipment of the Association. Insurance is intended to supplement, not replace, the personal insurance coverage of the participants in the program. A copy of the league insurance policy will be available to all head coaches in the event a question arises concerning coverage.


Section 8.1 - The size of the Junior Division - 5th Grade and Junior Division - 6th Grade playing field is 80 yards between goal lines and 40 yards wide with 45 ft hash marks. End zones shall be 10 yards.

Section 8.2 - The size of the Senior Division playing field is 100 yards between goal lines and 53.33 yards wide with 53.33 ft hash marks. End zones shall be 10 yards.

Section 8.3 - The Junior Division – 5th Grade and Junior Division – 6th Grade team box boundaries are between the 20-yard lines. The senior team box boundaries are between the 30-yard lines. These areas are reserved for players and coaches.

Section 8.5 - Field Conditions - The Board shall have sole discretion to decide whether fields are unplayable on the day of the game.


Section 9.1 - All games shall be governed by current year official football rules as adopted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHS), except where those rules are specifically amended in writing by the Board. A separate document containing current season rules is maintained by the board and is posted on the HSSF website.

Section 9.2 - Scoring Values:

· Touchdown 6 points

· Extra Point (3-yard line) 1 point

· Extra Point (5-yard line) 2 points

· Extra Point (Kick, Goalpost available) 1 point

· Field Goal (Goalpost available) 3 points

Section 9.3 - Early Termination of Game - When one team is 30 or more points ahead at the end of the 1st half or if it secures such a lead during the 2nd half, the score at that point shall be recorded as the final score. Play shall continue with B squad players participating until the remainder of the time left in the game has elapsed with the play clock running continuously for the remainder of the game, including the final 2 minutes of the 2nd and 4th quarters.


Section 10.1 - The Board shall schedule all regular season games. During the regular season, if a game ends in a tie then overtime will be played in accordance with the NFHS Rule 3-1-1.

Section 10.2 - The Board shall schedule all post season games. Brackets for the post season will be posted online each year.

Section 10.3 - The seeding for post season quarter-final playoff games will be determined by won lost percentage. In the event there is a tie in the season ending standings, the tie shall be resolved as follows:

a) Head-to-Head Result

b) In the event the tied teams did not meet during the regular season or there is a tie among more than two teams, the ranking shall be determined by a coin flip held by HSFF Board members between the coaches involved.

c) For the championship game teams with higher seeding will be home team.

Section 10.4 - Association teams must play only other Association teams unless approval to play a non-Association team is granted by the Board.


Section 11.1 - No player or coach shall act in an unsportsmanlike manner immediately before, during or after a game. Examples of such behavior include:

a) Insulting language or gestures or baiting acts or words that engenders ill-will.

b) Intentionally kicking or swinging at any player even though no contact may or may not be made.

c) Attempting to influence a decision by a game official by disrespectfully addressing the official or vehemently objecting to his decision.

d) Coaches who address their own players or the players on other teams in an abusive or unprofessional manner.

e) Players who address their own teammates or players on other teams in an abusive or degrading manner.

f) Use of unfair acts which in the opinion of the game official and/or the Board tend to make a travesty of the game.

Section 11.2 - The penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct include:

a) First violation: 15-yard penalty.

b) Second violation: 15-yard penalty and ejection from the game if the violation involves a player or coach who previously received a similar penalty;

c) Flagrant violations - Ejection from the game and a 15-yard penalty. If involved parties refuse to accept the game official's decision, the game shall be forfeited.

Section 11.3 - Any player who is ejected from a game shall not be allowed to play in the next regular season game. For" A" team players that means the next regularly scheduled "A" game as well as any intervening "B" team and practice games. For "B" team players that means the next regularly scheduled "B" team game and any intervening "A" team game and practice games.

Section 11.4 - Any coach who is ejected from a game shall not be allowed to attend the next regularly scheduled "A" game. In addition the coach shall explain his actions before a special meeting of the Board. Depending on the severity of the coach’s actions, the Board may decide to take additional disciplinary action, including dismissal.

Section 11.5 – At the board’s discretion, a coach may be removed from his or her position at any point in the season due to behavior, health concerns or other potential risks to the players or the program.

Article 12 A Game and B Game Participation

Section 12.1 - All teams will play a B game weekly, unless granted a waiver by the Board due to injury considerations. These games are not counted in the standings and should be used to develop those players who are unable to play in the A games.

Section 12.2 – The same weight restrictions and game rules apply in the B games.

Section 12.3. - No player will play in a B game on the same side of the ball if they started in an A game unless there are not enough players to till a B squad. In that situation the A team player shall not play a similar position to his normal position in A team games. Examples of these circumstances are:

· A player starting on defense in an A game, but not playing significant minutes offensively is allowed to play offense in the B game.

· A player that starts at wide receiver in an ‘A’ game is only allowed to play line unless approved by the board due to team size and injury issues.

Section 12.4 – Any misconduct by the coaches in player participation during a B game may lead to a week-long suspension of the head coach.

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