Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Football: Colonial and Cape consider alliance

Football: Colonial and Cape consider alliance

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By Phil Anastasia

West Deptford vs. Mainland.

Haddonfield vs. Bridgeton.

Paulsboro vs. Pleasantville.

Those unique matchups and many others could take place under a proposed alliance of the Colonial Conference and Cape-Atlantic League for football in 2014.

Representatives of the two leagues are deep in discussions about an arrangement that would be more of a loose alliance than a merger, several sources have told The Inquirer.

The leagues are still working out the details of the alliance. There is believed to be resistance to the arrangement on both sides.

This is far from a done deal.

Sources have confirmed that the Colonial Conference has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday morning at Sterling High School to discuss the situation and possibly vote on the arrangement.

It's believed the Cape Atlantic schools voted in favor of the alliance during a meeting on Monday.

If it happens, the alliance could lead to the two leagues merging with the West Jersey Football League to form a South Jersey superconference for football for the 2016 season.

The talks between the Colonial Conference and Cape-Atlantic League began after Colonial Conference representatives approached the West Jersey Football League earlier this month about the possibility of joining the 66-team league.

According to sources, WJFL officials told Colonial Conference officials that the WJFL was reluctant to accept any new teams for the 2014-15 schedule cycle but that the WJFL could be open to expanding in 2016.

The WJFL had turned down the Cape-Atlantic League's application in February.

Discussions between the Colonial and Cape have picked up speed in the last few days.

"It's gone from zero to 60 in a hurry," said one coach, who asked not to be identified.

Under the proposed alliance, the Colonial Conference would keep intact its two divisions, the Liberty and Patriot. The change for the 12 Colonial teams would involve cross-over games, with teams playing one or two against Cape-Atlantic teams.

Thanksgiving games and other traditional rivalries would be preserved.

The Colonial Conference has been looking to eliminate lopsided cross-over games such as West Deptford vs. Gateway (a 76-0 win for the Eagles this season) and also to create a situation where its Group 2 teams would have a better opportunity to generate power points for the playoffs.

The Cape-Atlantic League would change more drastically under one version of the proposed alliance. The 16 CAL teams would be aligned into three divisions, although only teams in the smaller two divisions would play cross-over games with Colonial teams.

No Group 5 or Non-Public team in the CAL would play a Colonial opponent.

Other possible matchups could include Collingswood vs. Middle Township, Sterling vs. Cedar Creek, Overbrook vs. Lower Cape May,  Audubon vs. Buena and Haddon Township vs. Buena, among others.

The larger CAL teams in the American Division would be provided with eight games on the schedule. They would need to find an outside game for their ninth game, although they could arrange to play another CAL American team twice in the season.

In one version of the proposed alignment, perennial power St. Joseph, the No. 2 team in The Inquirer Top 25, would be placed in CAL's smallest division with Bridgeton, Buena, Middle Township, Lower Cape May and Pleasantville.

St. Joseph, which could be one of the top 5 teams in the state next season, would be provided with eight games, although one of them would be its annual matchup with cross-town rival Hammonton.

it's possible Hammonton will not have an open date in its first year in the WJFL in 2014, which would force St. Joseph to find two outside games.

St. Joseph's two cross-over games in the CAL would be against Holy Spirit and St. Augustine.

As a proposed member of the National Division, Holy Spirit would receive a full schedule of nine games, with cross-overs with St. Joseph, St. Augustine and three CAL American public teams.

Here's a look at one version of the proposed divisions in the loose alliance:

Colonial Liberty: West Deptford, Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Collingswood, Sterling, Overbrook.

Colonial Patriot: Woodbury, Paulsboro, Audubon, Haddon Township, Gateway, Lindenwold.

Cape American: Millville, Atlantic City, Absegami, Egg Harbor Township, Vineland, St. Augustine Prep.

Cape National: Mainland, Oakcrest, Ocean City, Cedar Creek, Holy Spirit.

Cape United: Bridgeton, Buena, Middle Township, Lower Cape May, Pleasantville, St. Joseph.

-- Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com

-- Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter

 

 

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About this blog
Born and raised in South Jersey, Phil Anastasia prefers standing on the sidelines at high school football games on Friday nights to sitting in the press box at Eagles games on Sunday afternoons. He’s a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in English. Reach Phil at panastasia@phillynews.com.

Phil Anastasia Inquirer Columnist
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