As expected, the Colonial Conference has found a new home for football.
One of the oldest leagues in the state, it was accepted into the West Jersey Football League. The merger was approved by a vote of 83-0, Ewing High School athletic director and WJFL director Bud Kowal announced Tuesday.
The Cape-Atlantic League was approved earlier in the year. Now with the addition of the Colonial, the WJFL will have 95 schools grouped into 16 divisions.
“The WJFL leadership group met last week, and we talked about the Colonial,” Kowal said. “When you get five conferences together and there’s really no argument, no dissension about the possibility of bringing them in, that’s a real positive.
“You don’t get that kind of solidarity many places.”
The Colonial Conference was the last South Jersey league to merge into the WJFL. The Cape-Atlantic League was accepted earlier this year, joining founding members from the Colonial Valley, Tri-County and Olympic conferences as well as the Burlington County League.
Wrapping up its sixth season, the WJFL debuted in 2010.
“In a lot of ways we’re relieved to know what our situation is for next year,” said Colonial president and Sterling High School athletic director Matt Sheehan. “It was a pretty stressful time for the athletic directors. We think we made the right decision.
“Moving forward, we’re excited.”
Sheehan said five Colonial athletic directors will join the WJFL committee, which oversees everything from scheduling and division alignment to dealing with appeals.
Maintaining some of the Colonial’s longstanding rivalries was a major concern.
“We wanted to maintain some of the Colonial Conference’s identity and keep some of the rivalries,” Sheehan said. “Haddonfield-Haddon Heights is a pretty precious game, and I know a lot of people didn’t want to see that end.
“That was the appeal. The West Jersey Football League offered everything we were looking for — maintaining some tradition, the matchup of like opponents — whether it’s high-caliber or those looking to build.”
Kevin Minnick: (856) 486-2424; firstname.lastname@example.org
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