The Mid-State 38 football schedule for 2014-15 passed Wednesday after several months of debate and different proposals.
The third scheduling cycle of the league, made up by Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren and Union county schools, will be divided into five divisions – one less than the currently. The schedule was passed by a 21-7 vote with most of the dissent coming from Union County.
Traditional Thanksgiving Day games have been preserved – Franklin-Piscataway, Plainfield-Westfield, North Plainfield-South Plainfield and Governor Livingston-New Providence among them.
Some of the changes:
Watchung Hills, currently in the Watchung Division, returns to the Delaware where it will once again play Elizabeth, Hillsborough, Phillipsburg, Hunterdon Central, Franklin, Bridgewater-Raritan, Westfield and Union.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood moves up from the Mountain Division to the Watchung along with neighbor Westifeld, which comes in from the Delaware. The rest of the division remains the same with Linden, Immaculata, Montgomery, North Hunterdon, Plainfield and Ridge.
Cranford, North Plainfield, Somerville and Summit remain in the Raritan Division with the newcomers being Governor Livingston, Voorhees and Warren Hills.
Bernards takes a step up, moving from the Union Division to the Mountain where it will have new divisional rivals in A.L. Johnson, Delaware Valley, Rahway, Roselle and Hillside. A.L. Johnson, Delaware Valley and Roselle transfer from the Raritan. Bernards will continue to play Delaware Valley though the two will no longer play on Thanksgiving week.
Bernards will play the other three Somerset County’s original high schools – Somerville, North Plainfield and Bound Brook. The Mounaineers will also continue to play Manville.
“To us, it will be adjusting to teams that play very two platoon – not full, but very close, larger Group 2s and Group 3s are almost a third of the size bigger than us,” said Mountaineer coach Jon Simoneau. “Just look at Roselle .. And Johnson now, North Warren a few years ago, etc. Traditionally, the small tweener group twos always struggle. It’s the reason North Warren and Hackettstown left the league.”
Group I schools and Non-Public II Pingry will now all play in one division instead of two. Bound Brook, Pingry, Manville, Roselle Park and South Hunterdon – now playing in the Hills Division – will join Brearley, Belvidere, Dayton and New Providence in one division. Bound Brook and Manville will play Bernards as a cross over, Pingry will play Hillside, South Hunterdon will continue its holiday game with New Hope (Pa.) and New Providence will keep its holiday game with Governor Livingston.