How Long does a High School/College Football Game last?

Football is one of the oldest and most popular sports in the world. In this post “How Long does a High School/College Football Game last?”, we lay emphasis on High School Football game/College Football game. As well as the knowledge on How long does a football game last? and Important times in a football game.

High School Football is a sport hugely recognized amongst High School teams in United States as well as Canada. Although it is quite popular, yet as a result of injury and mild to severe concussions, it’s wave of popularity is decreasing.

Basically, High School Football is governed by two bodies according to the countries where it is allowed. While The NFHS establishes the rules of High School Football in United States; High school football in Canada is governed by Football Canada. It is also important to state that while most schools adopt the Canadian football rules, schools in British Columbia uses the NFHS rules.

In the United States of America, a higher percentage of players in High school football is taken by the boys. However, over the years, the percentage of girls involved in High school football has skyrocketed. Contrary to popular believe, there is absolutely no form of racism when it comes to football neither by the United States nor by Canada.

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How Long does a Football game last?

When it comes to football matches, the timing do not align with each other. Although the generally allocated time for a football match is 90 minutes, most matches that take place do not stick to this time. The 90 minutes allocated according to the official laws of football stipulates a match of two equal halves; 45 minutes. In addition to this is a 15 minutes half -time interval.

Also pursuant to the laws of football, a game can go on for an additional 30 minutes depending on the severity of the match. Hence, a football game can also run at a time shorter than 90 minutes as long as the teams agree before hand. There are so many factors that affect the duration of a football match. Some which includes injuries, celebration, and other unforeseen circumstances. In fact, it is almost impossible for a football match to stick to the 90 minutes stipulated time.

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How Long does a High School/College Football game last?

It is important to first note that the time it takes to complete an actual football match differs from the time it’ll take for a High School Football game. However, irrespective of the kind of match you play, football matches are usually for people with great stamina and fitness. Before you are even accepted in any club, recruiters usually look out for players that can keep up their strength and stamina for long periods.

Generally, according to football laws, a standard football game should last for 90 minutes however this doesn’t apply to High school football. High School Football games usually go on for about 2 hours to 2 and half hours. Basically, high school football games consists of 12 minutes quarters as opposed to the initially given 15 minutes.. Thus, in total, high school football has about 4 12 minutes quarters intended for a total of 48 minutes please. A half time of 10 to 12 minutes is given between the second and third quarters. Also, enough stipulated time for time-outs and penalties is allocated to each teams.

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It is also very important to note that all of these times are subject to change according to the rise of certain circumstances. A high school football match can even take up to 3 hours and 12 minutes in some cases as the times stipulated are gaming times.

How many minutes is a High School/College Football game?

As earlier said, a High School Football game can last for up to 2 and half hours which is 150 minutes. However a College Football game takes longer and extends to 192 minutes equating to 3 hours and 12 minutes. These times are divided into 4 12 minutes sessions (some schools still make use of 15 minutes). As well as allocated time for penalties and timeouts. There is also a 15 minutes break between the second one third round of match.

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What Factors determine how long a football game lasts?

As earlier stated, one of the leading causes of the decrease in the popularity of High School Football is the incessant injury. In fact, research has shown that High School Football players are at higher risk of experiencing concussion than College players. This aside, there are several factors that determine the longevity of a football game, some of which are:

  • Time outs: A time out basically signals a stop during the match. The main purpose of time outs is to enable coaches talk to their team mostly about strategies or to ginger them. You get 3 time outs in each half in the game of football which you can use as you see fit.
  • Style of Play: In football generally, there are about 8 playing styles and each of these styles are independent of the other. However, one can fuse in 2 or more styles of play in a game majorly to outsmart opponents. The style of Play in football also determines how long the match will last.
  • Penalties: Because there are no set number of penalties in football, these shots take time as well. A team is usually awarded a penalty kick when a player in the opposing team goes off the field as part of the game.
  • Bad weather: When the weather is not favourable for a football game, the time can be moved forward or shortened depending on the importance of the game. The weather or climate change plays an important role to determine the longevity of a game.
  • Injuries: This is the leading cause of the increase in time in a football match. The time it takes to determine how severely injured a player is plays an important role in the duration of a game.

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How long does High School/College Football season last?

A standard high school football season is usually made up of 8 to 10 games. Most of the times, the first game of the season falls between late August and early September. Knowing when the season ends is usually largely dependent on the state and climate at time. However most times the season ends in late October.

Before the beginning of a Football season, the teams are usually led through rigorous practices as well as heavy exercises. These trainings are majorly to improve the player’s speed and agility. In most states practice begins almost immediately after the end of the previous season. This is so that the body gets accustomed to such practices and not relapse.

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Duration of High School/College Football Game According to Student’s Age.

The duration of High School Football is strongly dependent on the player’s age. We will look at some of the common age based matches as well as their time of duration.

Under-6 Years

Players that are under the age of 6 have roughly 20 minutes for a game, excluding half time. The 20 minutes time is not subject to change unless on special circumstances and is usually played without stopping.

Under-8 Years

According to football laws, no player under the age of 8 is allowed to play for more than 40 minutes. Thus the allocated time is 20 minutes for each halves, excluding half time.

Under-10 Years

Players under this category are allowed a maximum of 50 minutes play, 25 minutes for each half. This also does not include half time.

Under-12 Years

These players are allowed 60 minutes of game time. This means they would have 30 minutes for both halves of the game.

Under-14 Years

Players under the age of 14 can play for up to 70 minutes. 35 minutes for each half, noting that the time allocated for each half increases by 5 minutes as the age group increases.

Under-16 Years

Excluding half time, players in this category play for a minimum of 80 minutes. This time is subject to change following unforeseen circumstances.

Under-18 Years

Players in this category play for a minimum of 90 minutes. As with the earlier category, this one is also subject to change.

It is also important to note that football laws do not allow more than 15 minutes half time in a match.

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Importance of Football game durations.

It is no news that laws exist to bring about order, so it is in the game of football as well.  The durations of football matches exist to bring about order and coordination in the game of football. Stipulating a certain time for a certain age group aids to curb excessiveness and helps coaches understand that there is a limit. Muscle strains and injuries are real, thus having a said time for a match helps to curb high rate of injury.

Three Important times in a Football Game

During a Football match, there are 3 very important moments/times that must be taken due notice of. We will discuss all three as follows:

Quarter Time

In Standard football, there are four 15 minutes quarters all of which equates to a total of 60 minutes football time. This game time can also be simply divided into 2 30 minutes halves with additional 15 minutes serving as half time break. However it is important to note that this differs in High School Football as each quarter only lasts 12 minutes. Thus rounding off the total game time to about 48 minutes.

Half Time

This is basically regarded as the break during the game of football. During this time, players can go to their lockers and regroup before coming back out to the field. The half time usually lasts for a total of 15 minutes giving players enough time to rest and strategize.

Over Time

An overtime usually occurs if the total points accumulated at the end of the game is equal. An extra time is allocated to both teams to get a winner, sometimes this comes in from of a penalty. In High school football, each team is given a chance to play from a stipulated distance. If a team scores against the other, the game is concluded and the team is given the mantle of winner. However, if no team scores, the process is continued till a winner emerges.

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Does High School/College Football game use a Mercy Rule?

First and foremost, a Mercy Rule is basically a situation where a game is stopped simply because one of the teams is doing incredibly well. When a particular attains a certain number of points at a particular time, leaving the other team way behind, the mercy rule may be invoked. The major aim of the Mercy Rule is to promote fairness in the game of football.

However, not every game or match supports the mercy rule. A High School can be subjected to the Mercy Rule if it was agreed before hand that such shall prevail. If both teams are not in agreement, the Mercy Rule can not stand.

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Does a High School/College Football game last longer than an NFL game?

Generally a standard NFL game lasts about 3 hours, a College game about 3.5 hours, High School game 2 hours. Thus while a High School game doesn’t last as long as NFL game, a College game lasts longer than both.


We have basically reviewed the basics of High School/ College Football thus eliminating any further questions you may have. Generally football is a very essential game in the world and is equally beneficial to the health. For more information on this, you can follow our website.

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