Football is the most popular sport in the United States. Even high school football matches frequently draw crowds of spectators to the stadiums. With practices sometimes starting long before the first matches and with playoffs following the regular season, people often wonder how long the high school football season is.
The high school football season is not the same for all states, but the regular season runs for approximately 11 weeks, excluding playoffs. First matches are usually late in August or early September, with the last occurring late in October or early November.
The high school football season duration differs from state to state, but most teams should play around ten matches in the regular season. Other factors could also influence the start and end dates of the high school football season. The whole season might only end as late as December in some states where the climate allows for games to be played that late in the winter.
How Long Is The Football Season For High School Teams?
In the United States, high schools play between eight and ten football matches per season over 11 weeks, usually in September and October. The actual start and end dates are determined annually per state and, in some cases, even per district. Matches for the regular season could, however, start as early as mid-August and end as late as mid-November.
Practices typically start in August but could start as early as September in some states. Some states might even allow formal practices earlier than the official starting date, while others are stricter regarding when practices may start. Official first practice is usually only three to four weeks before the first matches.
If teams perform well, they could qualify for playoffs, a single-round elimination process to determine regional or state champions. Playoffs can begin as early as late October and go on as late as mid-December when the champions are crowned. The timing of the whole season is mainly dependent on the climate, where colder states would crown champions as early as October.
When Does High School Football Training Start?
Official practice for high school football usually starts in August, but there is much more to training than just these practices. One could not imagine that three weeks of practice would be sufficient to prepare the players for the coming season properly. Football is a high-intensity and very physical sport with a high risk of injury.
Training usually starts with conditioning done in the gym during the off-season. In some states, conditioning could also include specialized speed and agility training, starting as early as January or February. Where official training is not allowed at this early time, players serious about their football would often work out in the gym to keep themselves fit and strong.
Some states might allow physical contact practices like seven-on-seven scrimmages, but many prohibit formal training during most of the summer. Towards the end of the summer, usually mid-August, schools start with double sessions, with two practices a day. Regular season practices usually start when the schools reopen after the summer break.
Teams usually have three to four weeks to prepare for the coming season, so many practices are built into this period and would continue throughout the season, every weekday, except for game days. During the regular season, practices would typically be every school day after school. Some of these practices could go on as late as six in the evening.
Who Decides How Long The High School Football Season Is?
The official football season is determined by the governing bodies for football in the respective states. The start and end dates of the official season are determined by taking the following factors into account:
- Climate – States with a more moderate winter will be able to play later in December than states that have harsher winter temperatures. The playing of football matches in open stadiums will depend on the weather.
- Availability of Stadiums – In states with harsher winters, it could be possible to continue with the playoffs later in December if closed stadiums are available that could host the matches.
- Number of Teams – The season’s length also depends on the number of matches that need to be played, including playoffs. Districts with fewer teams would usually have shorter seasons, or the teams would have more byes during the season.
The governing bodies of high school football in the various states consider all the above factors when setting the schedule for that state’s high school football season. Some states allow schools to have formal practices before the official dates are published, while others are strict in applying the schedule.
What Is The High School Football Season Per State?
As each state determines the exact duration of the high school football season for that state, based on factors like the availability of stadiums, the number of teams playing, and the state climate, the high school football season would not be the same all over the United States. The following indicate when the season would start and end in the different states:
- First Practice – The official start of the 2022 season, first practice, will mostly be early to mid-August, but some states will have first practice in July already. States that start in July include Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. Some districts in California and Mississippi will also have their first practice in July.
- First Matches – In most states, the first matches will be between mid and late August, but a few states will only start playing matches in September. The states only starting matches in September are Connecticut, Delaware, Kansan, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
- Playoffs – For most states, the playoffs will start in the latter part of October, with Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Long Island, and Oklahoma only starting playoffs in the first half of November. The last state to start playoffs will be Pennsylvania, where playoffs will only start on 18 November.
- Championships – In Alaska, the High School Football Season will end with the championships on 15 and 21 October. All other states will have their championships between mid-November and mid-December, with Texas the last to have their championships from 14 to 17 December.
One can find a complete list of critical dates for the 2022 High School Football Season per state on Play Football’s Website.
Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States. A High School Football Team would play between eight and ten matches in a season over approximately 11 weeks. Practices could start as early as mid-July in some states, with the last High School Football Championships to take place in Texas from 14 to 17 December 2022.