CAL, Colonial talk football scheduling

CAL, Colonial talk football scheduling


CAL, Colonial talk football scheduling


Solving the scheduling issues faced by the Cape-Atlantic League football teams might require some outside-the-box thinking.

For the time being, the league is exploring some outside-the-conference solutions.

The CAL approved an arrangement with the Colonial Conference this week to have crossover games between the two leagues, according to CAL president Michael Gatley. The agreement is now pending approval from the superintendents of the schools in the Colonial Conference.

Gatley, the athletic director at Mainland Regional, said the arrangement would be beneficial to both leagues, which are the only two in South Jersey geographically who are not part of the 66-team West Jersey Football League.

The CAL asked for admission to the WJFL last year, but was denied. The hope is that in two years, when West Jersey will again consider expansion, separate bids from the Colonial and CAL will be more attractive. It would create a 95-team “super league.”

“That’s ultimately the dangling carrot,” Gatley said.

Gatley said West Jersey officials have told both leagues to try to work together in hopes of making a future transition to the WJFL easier. They also wanted both leagues to attempt to use more West Jersey guidelines, such as forming divisions more directly based on group size and geography.

Since the CAL is top-heavy with Group V teams and the Colonial is made exclusively of schools in groups I and II, it might not seem like a match, but both leagues faced similar issues with lopsided crossover games and some schools’ inability to garner power points because of a lack of strong competition. For instance, West Deptford was undefeated, but only managed to be the No. 4 seed in Group II South.

“I would never have thought in a million years the Colonial Conference would be suffering the same issues as we are because they are totally different leagues,” Gatley said.

Should the agreement gain approval, the CAL would break into three divisions. Crossovers could still be played within the CAL, ensuring traditional and Thanksgiving rivalries would remain intact. But crossovers with the Colonial could now be scheduled, meaning the smaller schools in the CAL wouldn’t be forced to play Group V teams.

“Part of this agreement would require a five-tier look, two Colonial (divisions) and three CAL (divisions),” Gatley said. “It would make sense for the teams in the bottom of the Colonial and in the bottom of the CAL to make the most of the crossover games.”

Under the proposed arrangement, no Colonial teams would be forced to play a crossover game with a Non-Public school. Powerhouse teams such as St. Joseph and Holy Spirit have been an issue for scheduling and realignment since most public schools don’t want to be paired up with them. If an agreement is approved, the Non-Public schools would have crossover games against each other.

The smaller divisions would create scheduling holes for teams, both public and Non-Public, but Gatley said it’s likely teams could find schools and agree to home-and-home arrangements for each two-year cycle.

Vineland and Millville’s schedules would likely remain relatively similar, since most of the larger schools are in the CAL. A team such as Buena could see regular season games against teams like Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Collingswood or Audubon.

Struggling CAL teams such as Lower Cape May would be able to play against other teams of similar roster size like Lindenwold or Gateway.


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