Spirit, Oakcrest dropping down to CAL National in '14 re-alignment

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Oakcrest Oakcrest High School Almost a month before the first Cape-Atlantic League football game is played in the 2013 season, the CAL has announced it will revert back to an enrollment-based alignment for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

There are some interesting results of the new alignment.

Ocean City, St. Augustine and Vineland will move up into the American Conference and Holy Spirit and Oakcrest will drop down into the National Conference.

This means the Ocean City-Mainland game will return in 2014. It means the Atlantic City-Holy Spirit, Cedar Creek-St. Augustine and Absegami-Oakcrest games will not be conference games. It means that Vineland-Millville will be a conference game again.

It also could mean the end of the St. Joseph-Hammonton series.

Each team will play one crossover game against a team from the other conference. Since there are nine schools in the American Conference and eight in the National, the teams in the American Conference will have a complete schedule within the league. But the National Conference teams must find one opponent to fill out their schedules.

Some of the crossover pairings were based on the power ratings of the teams over the past three seasons. Four of the crossover games are Thanksgiving rivalries – Atlantic City-Holy Spirit, Absegami-Oakcrest, Ocean City-Pleasantville and Cedar Creek-St. Augustine.

The other crossovers are Millville-Bridgeton, Egg Harbor Township-Lower Cape May, Mainland-Buena and Vineland-Middle Township.

St. Joseph has Hammonton as a tentative opponent on its schedule but that game will not be confirmed until the West Jersey Football Conference announces its 2014-15 schedule. Hammonton will leave the CAL in all sports after this school year. Blue Devils teams will play football in the West Jersey Conference and all other sports in the Tri-County Conference.

If Hammonton is not available to play St. Joseph, the Wildcats would have to find an opponent if they want a nine-game schedule. They could schedule Holy Spirit or any of the other teams in the National Conference who will each be looking for a game.

The CAL devised its new alignment by putting the eight schools in Group 5 and Group 4 in the American Conference. They added the National Conference team with the highest power rating (St. Joseph) to give the American nine teams. They placed the odd number of teams in the American Conference because it is easier for smaller schools to find a non-league opponent.      

In 2012, the CAL aligned its football teams by NJSIAA power ratings over the previous three seasons. That alignment will continue for the season that begins on Sept. 13.

The Cape-Atlantic League proposed a merger of its football teams into the West Jersey Conference earlier this year but the merger was overwhelmingly voted down by current West Jersey members. That left 17 football schools in the CAL and forced a new alignment.

CAL Football Conferences 2013

AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Absegami

Atlantic City

Egg Harbor Township

Hammonton

Holy Spirit

Millville

Mainland

Oakcrest

St. Joseph

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Bridgeton

Buena

Cedar Creek

Lower Cape May

Middle Township

Ocean City

Pleasantville

St. Augustine

Vineland

CAL Football Conferences 2014-15

AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Absegami

Atlantic City

Egg Harbor Township

Millville

St. Augustine

Mainland

Ocean City

St. Joseph

Vineland

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Bridgeton

Buena

Cedar Creek

Holy Spirit

Lower Cape May

Middle Township

Oakcrest

Pleasantville

 


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