A new Cape for football next season

Mainland H.S. football players took water breaks during an evening practice at the school in Linwood, NJ on July 18, 2013. ( ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer )
Mainland H.S. football players took water breaks during an evening practice at the school in Linwood, NJ on July 18, 2013. ( ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer )
Posted: August 26, 2013

St. Augustine Prep, Vineland, and Ocean City will move to the American Division in a realigned Cape-Atlantic League for the 2014 and '15 football seasons.

The CAL will play the 2013 season under its current format, in which those three teams are in the less-competitive National Division.

But starting next season, the league will realign based strictly on enrollment with one exception: Perennial power St. Joseph, the conference's smallest school, will remain in the American Division.

Holy Spirit, which has won three consecutive Non-Public state titles but has been hit by declining enrollment that could impact the competitiveness of the football program, will move down to the National along with Oakcrest.

"It was a pretty smooth process," said Mainland athletic director Mike Gatley, the league president. "Our realignment committee got the football coaches involved, and that helped out tremendously."

Under the format, American teams will receive a full nine-game schedule, and National teams will get an eight-game schedule. National teams will need to arrange a nonconference matchup for a ninth game.

There will be one crossover game between divisions, maintaining rivalries such as Holy Spirit vs. Atlantic City.

In addition, St. Joseph is expected to maintain its rivalry with Hammonton, which is moving to the Tri-County Conference (and West Jersey Football League) for the 2014 season.

St. Augustine won the Cape National with an 8-0 record last season, and the Hermits are projected as strong favorites to win the division again this season.

St. Augustine coach Mark Reardon believes the move to the American will benefit his efforts to strengthen the program.

"I would have liked the flexibility to schedule a nonconference game, but all in all, it worked out fine," Reardon said. "At least we will have some power points."

Here are the CAL division alignments for 2014-15:

American: Absegami, Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township, Mainland, Millville, Ocean City, St. Augustine, St. Joseph, Vineland.

National: Bridgeton, Buena, Cedar Creek, Holy Spirit, Lower Cape May, Middle Township, Oakcrest, Pleasantville.

Robinson's number. Moorestown will retire the jersey of former star Dave Robinson at its Sept. 12 season opener vs. Seneca.

Robinson, a 1959 Moorestown graduate, recently was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a star linebacker for Penn State and the Green Bay Packers after his graduation from Moorestown.

Eagles soar. West Deptford is 116-12 with six South Jersey Group 2 titles in the last 11 seasons.

But veteran coach Clyde Folsom could have one of his best teams this season, led by senior fullback Gerald Owens, a Michigan State recruit, and several other veterans from last year's 12-0 team.

"We have the pieces, but we don't yet have the pieces in place," Folsom said.

The coach said his team needs to maintain a sharp mental approach.

"Any time you have a lot of kids back from a successful team, the big thing is whether or not they will stay hungry and play together and not as individuals," Folsom said.

Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.

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