Point Differential: OHSAA Rule, Plays/Rulings, and Mechanics

During the 2nd half, any time the score differential reaches 30 points or more the game clock (GC) will be stopped only when: 1. An official’s time-out is called for an injured player; 2. A charged time-out is called; 3. A change of possession (COP) occurs at the end of the down; 4. At the end of a period; 5. A score occurs; or 6. An extended delay. The GC will start again on the ready for play (RFP) signal for the first play after the above situations. The GC will continue to run in all other situations. (The use of this Rule does not preclude the use of NFHS Rule 3-1-3). After the 30 point differential has been met, if the score drops below 30 points, the GC reverts to regular timing rules. Communicate with HC’s when it starts. It is imperative the LJ meets with the Timer before the game to review this Rule at all levels.

Plays/Rulings below occur under the OHSAA Point Differential Rule during the 2nd half, unless noted.

Play: Crew arrives at the field for a game. Ruling. After completing preliminary duties the LJ will discuss this Rule with the Timer. Give the Timer a card listing the Rules & emphasize the R mechanics for starting & stopping the GC. Play. Late in 2nd quarter A scores & goes ahead 31 -0. Ruling. The Point Differential Rule does NOT start until the 3rd quarter. Standard timing rules are used for the entire 1st half. Play. A scores a TD & goes ahead 31 – 0. Ruling. Point Differential Rule starts when the R marks the ball RFP & winds the GC for the KO or, in middle school, for 1st down. The clock does not run during the Try. The Wings will notify both HC’s that the Point Differential Rule is in effect. Play. A is ahead 31 – 0. KT KO’s to RT & RT runs it back to 30 YL. Ruling. GC stops since there was a COP at the end of the down. The GC starts when the R marks the ball RFP & winds the GC. Play. A is ahead 31 – 0. A- 1 throws a pass that is intercepted. B -1 returns it 10 YDS & is tackled. Ruling. GC is stopped since there was a COP at the end of the down. When the R marks the ball RFP he will wind the GC. Play. A is ahead 31 – 0. A-1 throws pass, B-1 intercepts, B-1 returns, hit, fumbles, & A-3 recovers the fumble. Ruling: Since A has the ball at the end of the down, the GC continues to run. The same ruling would apply on a KO or punt play. Play. A is behind 31 – 0. A scores a TD & 1 point Try. Score is now B – 31 & A –

  1. Ruling. Since the score differential is now less than 30 points, revert to NFHS standard timing rules. Tell HC’s. Play. A is ahead 31 – 0. It is a hot & humid game & R stops game for extra water breaks. Ruling. This is an extended delay. Stop the GC for the water breaks, then R marks ball RFP & winds GC. Play. A is ahead 31 – 0. A-3 is called for holding. Ruling. The GC continues to run.


  1. When the Point Differential Rule is enforced the R will point at the timer, tap his wrist, & give a wind signal with his index finger. The R will face the timer each time he needs to wind the GC. Other members of the Crew will continue to use Gold Book Signaling. LJ will mirror R’s wind.
  2. Lengthy discussions occurred about altering Signals. Officials from other states that have used a “running clock” have indicated they did not change their Signaling Mechanics.
  3. It is the timer’s responsibility to know the Rule and then start/stop the clock as needed. (6/12/14)