Two commonly used signals are often victims of misnomers. While most football fans are familiar with the term “offsides,” it is not to be found in our high school rule book. We use the term “encroachment,” and the signal is given with both hands on the hips. The rolling fists in front of the body is a signal often identified by press box announcers as “illegal procedure”—the older term. Now we use it for either a false start or illegal formation by the offense. When the ref is miked up, he can specify the call.
One significant difference in high school and college communication between the referee and the audience is that we do not identify the guilty player in high school football. We simply point in the direction of the offending team and announce, “Block in the back, on the return team,” and let the individual remain anonymous. (The coach will want to know and we inform him discretely.)
By learning the signals, you can enjoy the game at a whole new level.