By TOM WILLIAMS
When the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association announced today that fall high school sports in the state would not start until Oct. 1 it impacted a lot of high school football.
There is a distinct possibility that the West Jersey Football League will rework its entire schedule but lets take a quick look at what games are affected on the current schedules.
Absegami was supposed to play Atlantic City, Ocean City and Cedar Creek prior to Oct. 1. It will likely cancel the Atlantic City and Cedar Creek games but it must play Ocean City because they are in the same division.
Atlantic City’s only other September opponent is Cherry Hill East, a division game that must be made up.
Bridgeton was to play Middle Township, Cherry Hill West and Cumberland before Oct. 1. Only West is a division opponent.
Buena had three games in September. It must make up Gateway but can cancel Oakcrest and Camden.
Cedar Creek had Willingboro, Pleasantville and Absegami on its early schedule. The defending Group 2 champions can drop Willingboro and Absegami but Pleasantville is a division game.
Egg Harbor Township’s schedule included Washington Township, Oakcrest and Southern in September. WTHS and Southern can go but Oakcrest is a division game.
Hammonton had quite a schedule before Oct. 2 – St. Joseph, Ocean City, Mainland and St. Augustine. The Blue Devils have to play division foe Mainland but can drop the other three.
Holy Spirit had scheduled Ocean City, St. Joseph and Camden before the new starting date. They have to re-schedule Camden.
Lower Cape May was to play Glassboro, Cumberland and Lindenwold. They can cancel all but Cumberland.
Mainland was scheduled to play Millville, Hammonton and Ocean City in September. They need to re-schedule the Hammonton game.
Middle Township needs to keep Schalick but can cancel Bridgeton and Glassboro.
Millville had Mainland, Shawnee and Highland scheduled but only Shawnee is a division game.
Oakcrest had Buena, EHT and Delsea and needs to find a place to play Egg Harbor Township.
Ocean City was to start with Holy Spirit, Hammonton, Absegami and Mainland in September and must re-schedule only Absegami.
Pleasantville was playing Haddonfield, Cedar Creek and Salem in September and needs to move the Cedar Creek game somewhere.
St. Augustine had planned to open with Notre Dame, Williamstown and Hammonton and must make up the Williamstown game.
St. Joseph had Hammonton, Holy Spirit and Cherokee – a trio of defending NJSIAA champoions – on its early schedule. Only Cherokee is a division game.
Vineland was scheduled to play Clearview, Lenape and Rancocas Valley in September and must make up the Lenape game.
And Wildwood was to play Pitman and Clayton. The Warriors must make up the Pitman game.
If all this stays the same, games like St. Joe-Hammonton, Ocean City-Mainland, Holy Spirit-St. Joe, Pleasantville-Haddonfield, Ocean City-Holy Spirit and St. Augustine-Hammonton could be lost. They might be made up later in the season.
But the expectation is that the WJFL will make a new schedule in keeping with the new NJSIAA restrictions, possibly even completely re-aligning the entire league to minimize travel.
Two weeks are allowed for the NJSIAA football playoffs meaning that four teams will qualify in each group. Schools that do not qualify for the playoffs or who are eliminated in the first round can schedule consolation games. The latest any football team can play is on Thanksgiving Day.
Soccer, field hockey, tennis and volleyball – sports where more than one game can be played in a week – will have less problems than football. And cross country will likely just create more meets with four (and possibly five) teams running together.
Of course, depending on how schools re-open, the entire fall season could still be in jeopardy.