The Cape-Atlantic League tweaked its football alignment for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
The league will keep its two-division format but those divisions will be based primarily on enrollment. The one exception is that perennial power St. Joseph will continue to play against the league's larger schools. The American Conference consists of the league's largest schools, while the National features schools with smaller enrollments.
The 2014 and 2015 changes from the alignment that will be used this year: Vineland, Ocean City and St. Augustine Prep move from the National to the American conference. Holy Spirit and Oakcrest drop to the National Conference.
The CAL released its realignment Friday afternoon.
The new alignment will preserve Thanksgiving rivalries. Teams in the American Conference get full-season schedules. Teams in the National Conference will each have to play one non-conference game to fill their schedules.
Past realignments caused plenty of controversy. This realignment went smoothly. The CAL - like all New Jersey high school leagues - realigns every two years.
"This was as seamless as this process could be or ever was to this point," CAL president and Mainland Regional athletic director Mike Gatley said.
The league will have an odd number of schools (17) for the 2014 season because Hammonton is leaving after this season for the West Jersey Football League.
St. Joe's enrollment should have placed it in the National Conference, but the Wildcats were moved to the American because they had the most power points of any National team. St. Joe is the defending American champion and considered to be a top contender again this season. From a competitive standpoint, CAL officials believed it is simply not realistic for the Wildcats to play the league's smaller schools, according to Gatley.
Each school will play a crossover game against an opponent from the other conference. These games are based on Thanksgiving rivalries or power points earned during the past three seasons.
The new divisions for 2014 follow.
American: St. Joseph; Millville; Atlantic City; Absegami; Egg Harbor Township; St. Augustine; Mainland Regional; Vineland and Ocean City.
National Conference: Holy Spirit; Cedar Creek; Bridgeton; Oakcrest; Lower Cape May; Buena Regional; Middle Township; Pleasantville.
The crossover games:
• St. Joe vs. Hammonton or a non-league opponent
• Millville vs. Bridgeton
• Atlantic City vs. Holy Spirit
• Egg Harbor Township vs. Lower Cape May
• St. Augustine Prep vs. Cedar Creek
• Mainland Regional vs. Buena Regional
• Vineland vs. Middle Township
• Ocean City vs. Pleasantville
• Absegami vs. Oakcrest
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