Holy Spirit's Taalib Gerald is chased by Dennis White of Atlantic City. Atlantic City hosted Holy Spirit in their annual Thanksgiving Day football rivalry held at Atlantic City High School Nov 28, 2013. 

Dale Gerhard

Cape-Atlantic League high school football teams are on their own - again.

The Colonial Conference rejected a plan that would have created crossover games between the CAL and the Colonial, CAL president and Mainland Regional athletic director Mike Gatley said Wednesday. The Colonial voted 7-5 against the arrangement, according to Gatley. The CAL had voted 16-1-1 in favor of the arrangement earlier this month.

"It was a close vote," Gatley said. "It doesn't close any options moving forward, but obviously it's not going to happen for the next (scheduling) cycle. We have a constitution to follow, and that's what we're going to do."

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The CAL will remain in two conferences for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Gatley said he will soon release the exact makeup of those conferences, but they are expected to look very similar to the 2012 and 2013 alignments.

Before the discussions with the Colonial, the CAL approved a two-division format that moved Holy Spirit and Oakcrest to the National Conference and St. Augustine Prep, Vineland and Ocean City to the American Conference.

This is the second time another league has rejected the CAL. The West Jersey Football League voted against a merger with the CAL last winter.

Few leagues in the state - if any - have the scheduling problems that the CAL has for football.

The league consists of Group V schools, Group II schools and parochial powers such as St. Joseph and Holy Spirit.

An agreement with the Colonial would have benefited the smaller schools in the CAL, who could have played crossover games against teams of similar ability and enrollment.

"From a professional standpoint, we're looking to put all our schools in a position to be successful," Gatley said. "Would it have been nice to look at some pretty neat crossovers with the Colonial? Absolutely."

Gatley said the Colonial wanted to maintain the integrity of its league and develop its own crossover games. Gatley said at least one Colonial school was worried it might have to play the CAL's parochial teams in the future.

Gatley said the CAL's problem is finding a full schedule for all its teams because of the different enrollments of the league's schools, and because nearly all New Jersey teams are now locked into league schedules with no room for non-league contests.

"We have a committee. We take in all kinds of options. We can get to seven games," Gatley said. "To get our schools nine games creates some of these imbalances that you can't solve within the Cape. That's why we wanted to go with the Colonial."

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