How Long Does A High School Football Game Last?

High school football games are very important and exciting to watch. That’s why people want to know how long a match will take to last. In that case, if you are part of the game crowd and you are the parents of the players, you are also worried about the timing so give us time to explain to you. It all depends on the situation of the football match. Let’s learn about ‘How Long Does A High School Football Game Last?’.

How Long Does A High School Football Game Last?

How Long Does A High School Football Game Last?

The recruiters of the players decide the ending of the game according to the peak of the game and the player’s performance. Here we will explain everything about the high school football match; take a look. In this article, we explain the crystal apparent reason why high school football matches take less time than college matches and how much it will take.

Duration of High School Football Games

The high school football game is more interesting than the realization of the people. As a parent, you just need to allow your children to participate in this and should go to watch matches to cheer up your children. If you are doing the same as mentioned here, then you need to know how much the match will last. 

Considering the average timing of the match, it will likely last approximately, taking 2 to 2.5 hours. Football games rely on the quarters, and each quarter takes 12 minutes to end up. 

In this game, a halftime show is also available in which teams tend to relax a little bit and discuss related to the game. Yes, halftime is also included in the duration of the football match. Halftime will end in 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the high school and show in the question.

For Example, if the high school use marching bands during the match to entertain the audience/crowd, that will take a bit longer to run the show. The reason for this music show is that it will motivate the teams. Marching bands participate in high school football matches and show their skills.

There is no commercial to play during the match as it plays on TV for a break. Another important thing is that quarters are shorter than in professional matches like NFL and college matches. Because school matches are for extra activity and the best learning point for students, it will take a short time to perform as this match is not considered a professional match.

Is Mercy Rule applicable for High School Matches?

The mercy rule is also a fundamental rule and impacts the end timing of the football game. Most high schools know about this and use it. The mercy rule is one score has more scores than the opposite team. For example, suppose team A has many points against team B, and the distance could be more easily beatable in the remaining time of the match. The match supervisor or officials can impose or activate the game.

Mercy rule will be imposed in two ways:

The first one is that you immediately end the game when you clearly see the scoreboard that is impossible to beat. This will help to shorten the game if the opponent team plays very well in the first part of the game.

The second way is to use the mercy rule: the team night decided to let the clock run. If the clock continuously runs, time consumes more fastly and ends up the game before the average time of the game last.

Furthermore, the clock stops when the play ends in a standard game. When the quarter ends and starts, the clock’s timing again when the play resumes, so in the mercy rule, they will decide not to stop the clock to save time, which will also help to make the game shorter. 

So, in short, the mercy rule will play a role in shortening the high school football game in the situation as mentioned earlier. As the match goes, as usual, you do not need to use this rule, but if both teams face a long distance between the scoreboard, this rule will apply in this game, and the decision will be utlized by the coach or referee of the game.

Why are high school football games shorter than NFL matches?

If you guys are already watching the NFL and the college football matches and this is your first time watching a high school match, you will notice it is short compared to the NFL and college matches.

Here we will share a few reasons why the high school football game is shorter than the other professional matches.

  • Non-Professional: The most apparent reason is that high school matches are less formal than professional matches such as the NFL. High professional teams and players take the matches more seriously than high school matches. NFL and college matches have investors who will take them more seriously because many people invest in them.
  1. College teams play matches very well and at the peak of seriousness because they want to show the coaches their performance so that they will be selected for the high teams who play for the NFL. College football matches are particularly a launching platform for the players. So their matches will be considered as a test match for the selection in the highly professional team.
  2. High school matches are just played for activity and learning points for interest, while college football is an internship in the professional field of matches.
  3. College matches are played by following all professional rules, and players show their skills and efforts so that they will secure their future in this profession after graduation. That’s why it takes longer than the last high school football match.
  4. Also, there is a significant fact, others play the game seriously, while high school football teams play as a hobby.
  • Non-commercial: high school football matches take a short time to last as compared to college or NFL matches because the games are commercial-free and there are no more commercial breaks. While watching the tough national or international matches, you face more commercial breaks because these types of matches get sponsorship and are gone as long as compared to the high school matches. 

Broadcasts showing their ads on TV will take more time. In some cases, broadcasts stop the match to show their ads which will consume more time. On the other hand, most high schools don’t broadcast matches on TV because it takes less time to last as compared to national-level football matches. That is the reason the football game of high school takes 2 to 2.5 hours to last.

  • Halftime Shows: This is also the considerable reason that high school games take a short time to end up the game because they spend less time on halftime shows as compared to the big budget matches. As we all know, high school football is less formal than the NFL and has more big-budget matches. That’s why they can spend less time on halftime shows. Moreover, halftime shows the increase in length in the big matches because some entertainers take more time to entertain the audience, which will impact the length of the show. This is different from the NFL or college football because they already set the time of halftime.

Professional or non Professional Players Health

This is also a considerable reason for the short length of the last game because of the player’s health. All players are non-professionals and teenagers in the school, and their health matters greatly. They are their growing age and need to boost their athleticism. So they can give less time than professional teams tend to give. Professional football teams are stronger and more pleasing in athleticism. 

That’s why they perform well and spend more time. High school students can’t play long if they try hard to play and increase their time from the average, so they will get a severe injury because their bodies are not prepared for it.

Do determinants influence the timing of a High School Football Game?

This is notable in exceptional cases, high school average time to last is 2.5 hours, but the timing will increase because of this type of uncertainty that will influence the football match end timing and take a bit long to end up. So let’s follow the uncertainty points that will stretch the football game last.

  • Game Flow: this will also decide the length of the game, and influencing point game flow decides the game last. If the game usually goes, it will be finished in the average time, but if the game gets ups and down to balance, the game time will consume a little bit more.
  • More Timeouts: coaches have decided the number of timeouts that players can utilize during the game, and the timing of the timeouts that the officials decide may lengthen or shorten the game.
  • Penalties: have two types of effect in that case. If the defence has the penalties, they can accept them and extend the game. On the other hand, if the penalty is on the offence, they can immediately end the game.
  • Injuries: this is an unfortunate reason that may make the game longer if one of the players faces an injury problem, which will also influence the game last. Because if someone is affected or gets injured, time spent on the check-up and game will remain until then the health decision. Most of the time, the game will pause for a long time if the injury in the game is more serious, especially in professional football matches.
  • Style of play: that matters a lot. It depends on the core style, defence style and attacking style. The way to adopt the style may increase or decrease the game length.
  • Replay: this is also an impactful reason high school football games last a long time due to the reply views. Reply review after pausing the game, so these types of pausing gaps also increase the game’s last.

According to the research survey, high school football players experienced 11.2 concussions per 10,000 games and practised about as compared to college football teams. All of the mentioned points also affected the high school football match last. All of these points are related to the uncertainty factors. Referees come close together to give the final decision, and they can take a minimum of one minute and a maximum of 10 minutes all, depending on the situation.


The information aims to end your search about how long a high school football game lasts. The game will take approximately 2 to 2.5 hours to take last, but some uncertainty affects the football match’s timing. That influences the game, like we need to quickly end the game or extend the length of the game. 

This article provides you with complete information such as to give you knowledge about and practical reasons why high school football games are shorter than NFL and college football games.

  • High school football games last longer than NFL?

High school games are shorter than NFL games. Because school games are played just for hobby and the grooming of the kids, while the NFL games play in severe and more professional ways. The NFL takes more than 3 hours to end the game, while the high school just finished the game at a minimum of 2 hours.

  • Does the high school allow halftime shows during football matches?

Yes, high schools allow halftime shows, too, during football matches. But if you compare the halftime show timing in high school to just around 20 minutes, even the NFL takes big-time halftime shows that will increase the longevity of the match.

  • Does the weather impact the football game last time?

Football games may last longer because of the weather situation because most high school football matches are in outdoor places or stadiums, so because of no indoor stadium, they have to wait to stabilize the weather situation. They have to take weather precautions to avoid serious injury during the game.