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Replay review, 40-second play clock among national high school football changes

The National Federation of State High School Associations Board of Directors has approved allowing states to create procedures for instant-replay reviews in state postseason games, the association said Monday.

The change paves the way for South Dakota to add replay reviews to its state championship games, which are played annually at the DakotaDome in Vermillion and are televised by South Dakota Public Broadcasting. South Dakota football leaders have discussed the matter in recent years, and the NFHS previously allowed states to implement replay reviews on an experimental basis, something a handful of states were using.

This revision would allow game or replay officials to use a replay monitor during state postseason contests to review decisions by the on-field game officials. Use of a replay monitor would be on a state-by-state adoption basis, and the methodology for reviewing calls would be determined by each state association.   

In addition to the replay rule change, the play clock in football will start at 40 seconds instead of 25 in most cases, starting in the 2019 season. The 40- and 25-second clock methodology mirrors college football, while the NFL also uses a 40-second timer.

The play clock will continue to start at 25 seconds (a) prior to a try following a score, (b) to start a period or overtime series, (c) following administration of an inadvertent whistle, (d) following a charged time-out, (e) following an official’s time-out, with a few exceptions, and (f) following the stoppage of the play clock by the referee for any other reason. In all other cases, 40 seconds will be placed on the play clock and start when the ball is declared dead by a game official.

Previously, the ball was marked ready-for-play when, after it had been placed for a down, the referee gave the ready-for-play signal and the 25-second count began.

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