The kickoff is considered by many to be one of the most exciting plays in all of football. The play can become so wild, in fact, that the National Football League (NFL) has considered removing the kick off altogether as a way of mitigating player injuries. For a high school coach, the kickoff represents an opportunity to either trap an opponent deep in its own territory or to establish good field position for their own offense. A player can potentially run a kickoff back for a touchdown.
In high school football, the kickoff begins both halves and also follows any scoring play. The kicking team can place the ball anywhere along the 40-yard line. Typically an X marks the center of the field on the 40-yard line, but a kicker can move the ball left or right of the mark as they wish. The 10 additional players on the kicking team must remain behind the ball, and the 40-yard line, until the kicker has contacted the ball.
The receiving team, meanwhile, can set up on their side of the field in any way they would like so long as they do not cross the 50-yard line. Any player on the receiving team can catch the ball and subsequently begin the return. Teams often field one or more designated returners, however, and these players may choose to signal for a fair catch and take the ball from where it lands rather than catch the ball and attempt to run. Should a player return the ball, the game clock should begin as soon as the receiving team makes physical contact with the football.