Reffing 101

Reffing 101
In an attempt to make reffing easier on everyone I have put together some basic information you need to know.  This will help to take the confusion out of the game for both the refs and players. I ask that you please read it and revisit it leading up to a day you are going to ref.  For the vets out there, please also read to eliminate confusion going forward.  My hope is with everyone on the same page we can cut down the frustration and negativity that comes with reffing
Over the course of the season each team only has to ref 4 games  
Every game is required to have three refs:
1. Head ref
2. Line ref  
3. Back ref 
 If a game you are scheduled to ref has a head ref assigned to it in the schedule, then you only need to provide a line ref and a back ref.  If there isn’t a head ref assigned, then you must provide all three.
Head Ref- 
Equipment required: whistle, stop watch and a flag 
They are the main ref for the game and the person who knows the rules the best, is confident and loud spoken.  This ref lines up behind the quarterback in the back field and watches the game from behind the play.
Captains meeting: The head ref is responsible for getting both team captains together before the game to determine who gets the ball first and who gets it at half. This is decided by a best of one rock, paper, scissors. The meeting should take place about 5-10 minute before start of the game.
Play clock: The play clock is 30 seconds and starts as soon as the ball is placed on the line of scrimmage.  You need to announce 10 seconds left and count down the last 5 seconds.
Rush Count:  The rush count needs to be called out loud by the head ref so that defensive players can hear it.  The count should be a slow, consistent 4-(one thousand) followed by a GO to signify that the rusher my cross the line.
Turning in Score/ Returning Equipment:  The head ref is responsible for making sure the score is brought to me after the game. Also they need to make sure all ref equipment (flags, whistles and stop watches) are given to the next ref or returned to the equipment bag.
Back or Far Side Ref-
Equipment required: flag and a whistle
This person needs to have a good understanding of the game and know what to look for on down-field plays, such as pass interference.  This ref lines up either back behind the defensive team or along the far sideline down field.
Spotting the ball: The main job of the down field ref is to spot the ball where the ball was downed on long plays or make sure the ball gets back to the head ref on an incomplete.
Tracking Down and Girl Play: You are responsible for keeping track of what down it is and whether it is a girl play or not.  This needs to be announced before EVERY PLAY. For example if it is first and open, the ball can go to anyone. If it is second and girl (or closed) it must be a female operative play.
Score:  The final responsibility for this ref is to keep track of the score during the game.  The score should be announced after every touchdown and then again after the conversion, regardless if the try is successful or not.  Also, the score should be announced at the end of the first half, along with the start of the 2nd. Make sure that at the end of the game the head ref has the correct score before they turn it in to me.
Line Ref:
Equipment required: whistle, stop watch and a flag 
This person need a basic understanding of football, which I think everyone has.  If not it’s a great place to ref with a friend that does and learn the game better.  This ref lines up on the bench sideline.
Line of Scrimmage:  The main job for this ref is to mark the line of scrimmage, the yard line the ball is on at the start of the play.  You will stand at the line of scrimmage and stay there until the ball is placed at the new line of scrimmage by one of the other refs. You may have to stand there for a few plays or you may need to hurry to the new line of scrimmage.
Game Clock: The game clock is run on a stop watch and started on the first snap, counting up to 20 minutes. In the first half the clock only stops for time outs. The second half runs the same except at the two minute warning the clock stops. Inside the last 2 minutes the clock stops at every incomplete pass, touchdown or if the runner goes out of bounds. 
Exception:  If a team is losing by 20 points or more the clock always runs except on time outs.
Offsides: Before each play both teams should be lined up on their side of the ball.  The Neutral Zone is the foot of space along the line of scrimmage that the ball sits on and extends to both sidelines.  The only player allowed in this area at the snap is the center.  Any other player in that area is offsides.  If anyone else lines up in this area a flag should be thrown.