How Long Do High School Football Games Last?

High school football and college football started together in the 19th century. High school is the third football level behind professional and college leagues.

How long is a highschool football game?

How Long Is a Highschool Football Game?

A high school football game lasts from 2 to 2,5 hours.

A high school football game lasts between two and two and a half hours. So its length is significantly less than the college or NFL football game.

It features four 12-minute quarters rather than 15-minute quarters in other versions. The entire game length might increase from 10 to 20 minutes of halftime, which separates the 2nd and 3rd quarters, as well as for penalties and timeouts.

A high school football game is divided into four quarters, 12 minutes for each, for a total of 48 minutes of play. They are gaming minutes instead of real-time minutes.

Each high school football game usually lasts at least two hours as time-outs and penalties disrupt it.

The exact length of a high school football game is hard to nail down. Across the US, there are various kinds of high school football classes, all with many levels of talent and play styles. Generally, you can expect a high school football game to be shorter in length than an NFL game or college football game.

Why Are High School Football Games So Short? 

Player Health

One of the main reasons is player health. High school players are typically kids who are growing and building their athleticism.

As such, they can’t play for the same amount of time as professional players who have had years to build up their endurance and strength.

Playing for too long can cause consequences on their bodies. It also impacts how great they play down the line.

Halftime Shows

A high school football game is usually shorter as it features shorter halftime shows. High school football is not as formal as college or NFL football. It is not fussy when talking about halftime show lengths. Its halftime shows are not always 13 minutes long like the NFL.

Less Formal

One of the reasons a high school football game is not as long as an NFL or high school game is that it is less formal.

While several players may take the high school game seriously, others play it as a hobby. Meanwhile, in college and the NFL, players and their teams take themselves more seriously.

Coaches must demonstrate that they have made good use of all the money the university has invested in them. For players, it’s an opportunity to prove to the NFL coach that they’re a player worth considering.

No Commercials

One of the main reasons why a high school football game is short is the lack of commercials. Most high school games are not broadcast on TV, so they do not stop for ad breaks. With fewer stops, the game will last shorter.

On the other hand, you can expect commercial breaks when you watch one college or NFL game. It is because NFL teams and college teams get sponsorships.

Broadcasters make money via ads by showing games. So to get the most money, they cram as many ads as possible into one game. 

What Determines How Long a Football Game Will Be? 

What factors slow down a football game?


A football game can last longer due to the weather. Many NFL teams own indoor stadiums, but others still opt for outdoor stadiums.

These outdoor stadiums are subject to inclement weather. Although the NFL continues if it is snowing or raining, they have to stop if there is lightning.


A football game can last longer for player injury. Injuries in college and the NFL are often severe.

The game will stop if an injured player is on the ground. Then, a medical team will rush to their side to determine the player’s situation.

Halftime Shows

Halftime shows, and anything that occurs during halftime, are another reason a football game lasts longer.


Finally, a football game can last longer due to replay reviews. Whenever there is a call under review, the game clock will pause. For a tough call, it can take longer for referees to give a decision.


How Long Does the NFL Football Game Last?

Recent studies have shown that the NFL game lasts around three hours. 

How Long Is A College Football Game?

A college football game usually lasts under three and a half hours in length. It consists of 60 minutes of game action.

How Long Is a Youth Football Game?

You can expect one youth football game to last from an hour to an hour and a half.  

How Long Is One NFL Quarter?

One NFL quarter lasted 15 minutes. But the NFL game clock doesn’t run continuously, so the time it takes to play one quarter is slightly over 40 in real-time.


How long does a highschool football game last? A high school football game usually lasts from two hours to two and a half hours. It consists of four 12-minute quarters with one halftime between the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

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