By TOM WILLIAMS
There are 17 Cape-Atlantic League schools with football teams, all playing in the West Jersey Football League. And 12 of them would qualify for the NJSIAA football playoffs if the competitions began this week.
Lets take a look at which 12 have qualified, whom they would play and where. But first, an interesting observation.
Due to some unique WJFL alignments, the 17 CAL schools are spread out over eight different divisions within the league. And in seven of those divisions, a CAL team is either in first place or tied for the top spot.
St. Augustine is in first place in the American Division. St. Joseph is tied with Kingsway and Washington Township in the Continental. Egg Harbor Township and Ocean City are tied at the top in the Independence. Cedar Creek and Holy Spirit are tied in the Memorial. Atlantic City is tied with Triton in the National. Mainland is tied with Delsea in the Royal. And Lower Cape May and Middle Township are tied atop the United.
By the way, Ocean City visits EHT and Cedar Creek is at Holy Spirit on Friday in two games that will break first place ties. Check out where the CAL teams are in the division standings HERE.
Now to the NJSIAA power rankings.
With the regular season about half over, Atlantic City and Egg Harbor Township are among the top 16 in Group 5. The Vikings would travel to Manalapan and EHT to Old Bridge in the first round. Washington Township is the top overall seed.
In Group 4, Millville, Ocean City and Mainland are among the qualifiers right now. If the playoffs started Friday, Millville would host Toms River East and Ocean City would host (are you ready for this?) Mainland. Long Branch is the No. 1 seed.
In Group 3, Cedar Creek, Absegami and Oakcrest are in the top 16. Cedar Creek would host Triton, Absegami would go to Manasquan and Oakcrest would travel to Delsea if this weekend started the playoffs. Rumson-Fair Haven is the No. 1 seed.
Middle Township would qualify in Group 2 and the undefeated Panthers would travel to Delaware Valley. Point Pleasant Boro is the top seed.
There are no CAL qualifiers in Group 1 where Woodbury would be the No. 1 seed.
The private schools have gone back to two groups with no concern for geography. In Non-Public A there are 15 qualifiers. Top seed Bergen Catholic would get a bye and St. Augustine would host St. Joseph of Montvale. In Non-Public B there are 13 qualifiers. Top seed Red Bank Catholic, plus DePaul and Immaculata, would get first round byes. Holy Spirit would host Bishop Eustace and St. Joseph would host Montclair-Kimberley.
You see a lot of unusual names, especially in the public school groups, because the NJSIAA has combined what used to be South and Central into one group, currently referred to as South.
The playoffs start the weekend of Nov. 5-6 with the top 16 in each group qualifying. Teams that do not qualify will be assigned a consolation game that week by the NJSIAA if they request one.
There is still a month of football ahead so lots of things can change. But checking the power ratings periodically can give fans an idea of which games are important and how the results will affect their team.
Check out how all the teams rank in the Online 25 HERE.