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How Long Does a High School Football Game Last?

How Long Does a High School Football Game Last in the USA? They’ve been an uproar about school games, questions like how long does a high school football game last? Frankly, it varies, and based on the decretion of the coordinator, the nature of the game and the location is considered.

However, this is a common question, and the answer is surprisingly long. In this post, we will give a detailed answer to this buzzing question.

Most high school football games are more important than most people realize, this is because they’re the time when college recruiters take a look at prospective players and talents.

Recruiters look for a player’s ability to perform at a high level throughout the game. Whether or not you are a spectator or a parent of a player, you might be wondering how long a high school football game lasts.

Here’s everything you should know about high school football games

How Long Does a High School Football Game Last?

2-3 hours max. It is not a surprise that you might be curious about the duration of a football game if you are recently watching or attending one for the first time.

The duration of a high school football game is typically between two and a half and three hours. Before the end of each quarter, the clock will run for approximately 12 minutes.

In addition, there is a show performed during the halftime break, which occurs between the second and third quarters.

The length of the halftime show can range anywhere from ten to twenty minutes, depending on the high school and the particular show that is being performed.

For instance, high schools that host performances at the school using marching bands have a tendency to run a bit longer than other high schools during a show. This is due to the fact that the high school band might participate in competitions and might have a show that they take with them.

They practice their skills and display them at high school football games by playing in those games.

It is possible that their performance will last for approximately 15 or 20 minutes.

Some may run even longer. As a consequence of this, a football game at the high school level might go on for a little bit longer than usual.

Due to the reduced number of timeouts, high school football games are significantly shorter than their college and NFL counterparts.

There are no commercials currently airing, so the teams do not need to pause what they are doing to watch the television.

Due to the fact that high school students are not yet considered professional athletes, the quarters are significantly shorter than they are in the NFL.

According to recently conducted studies, the average NFL football game lasts for about three hours in total. Playoff games last longer than regular season games since overtime can span multiple quarters and lasts 15 minutes.

If you intend to watch a high school game, prepare on sitting in the stands for at least two hours.

How Football Game is Played

Football games are lengthy. But the time they spend playing is only about half of that time. In the section before, we already saw why. We want to talk about what occurs in between playing right now.

A coin toss is used to begin the game. The coin toss winner has the option of either accepting or deferring. The other team will get the ball first in the second half if they opt to receive it. If they decline, they will receive the ball first in the second half but start the first half on offense.

For the kickoff following the coin toss, each team lines up on the opposing ends of the field. The receiving team tries to run the ball back as far as they can after receiving it from the kicking team. Play halts when they are tackled or if they step outside the line of scrimmage, and the receiving team now has the option to go on offense.

In order to score points offensively, a field goal or touchdown must be made. A touchdown, which is worth six points, can be obtained either by carrying the ball into the end zone or by catching a pass there. A field goal is a kick that goes through the goalposts and is good for three points.

In the event that the offense fails to score, they must punt the ball back to the opposing team. The game then switches, and the opposing team is now in offensive mode.

Until one team scores or the time runs out, this pattern continues. A high school football game consists of four 12-minute halves, so if both teams are scoring, the game should last 48 minutes.

The actual playing time is much shorter than that, as we’ve already mentioned. Between each quarter, there is a short break, and the halftime break is longer. Additionally, whenever a pass is incomplete or a player crosses the goal line, the clock stops. When the timer expires, the players must re-line up and re-start the play.

Even though 48 minutes is the maximum amount of time that could be spent playing, all of these delays add up, which is why high school football games last around two hours.

Why Do High School Football Games Last So Long?

High school football games last a long time because there are a lot of breaks between plays. But why do these breaks exist?

One factor is that high school athletes require more downtime than professional athletes. They cannot compete on the same level as professional athletes because they are still growing and developing. Therefore, 12-minute quarters are more than sufficient to ensure a fair and thrilling game.

Another factor is that in high school football, the clock stops more frequently than it does in the NFL. Only incomplete passes or players expelled cause the clock to stop in the NFL. However, the clock also stops in high school football after first downs and touchdowns.

This is so that they can make high school football games as thrilling as possible. In this manner, more spectators will show up to watch the games and cheer on the team. The games wouldn’t be as exciting if they were shorter, and fewer people would want to watch.

So now you are aware of why high school football games seem to drag on interminably. There are numerous breaks in between plays, but that isn’t the only reason. Additionally, there are more frequent clock stops and shorter quarters.

Important Events at High School Football Games

During football games, there are key events or breaks in between the time of play, they include:


A quarter is one-fourth of the entire game. Four quarters make up a football game. The football level determines how long they are. In high school football, a quarter lasts 12 minutes. Football quarters in the NFL and college last 15 minutes each. As a result, a high school football game lasts 48 minutes in total.


Halftime is the break between the second and third quarters of a game. That is, once athletes leave the field and head into their locker rooms. They typically have about 15 minutes to rest and prepare before the second half begins.

Halftime is a good time to take a break if you are watching the game at home because this is when commercial TV timeouts take place.


The game moves into overtime when the score is tied at the end of regulation, where both teams play one more period to determine the victor. In high school football, each team is given one possession that begins at the ten-yard line. If both teams score in overtime or if neither team scores, a second overtime period is held. This pattern continues as long as there is no clear winner.

NFL and college football teams each get one possession to start from the 25-yard line. If both teams score, or if neither team scores, the subsequent overtime period is played in accordance with sudden death rules. In other words, whether it’s a field goal or not, the first team to score wins the game.