Cape OKs alliance; Colonial yet to decide

Posted: November 28, 2013

The Cape-Atlantic League gave an emphatic "thumbs up" to the possibility of an alliance with the Colonial Conference for football in 2014.

The Colonial Conference raised its index finger, asking for more time.

Colonial Conference athletic directors deferred the decision to superintendents and Boards of Education at the school districts after meeting Tuesday morning to discuss the proposed alliance.

The proposal will be presented to each Colonial Conference school's superintendent and Board of Education.

The decision on whether to move forward with the alliance will be made at the administrative level of each district. There is no timetable for officials at each district to make a decision.

A two-thirds majority - eight of the 12 schools - would be needed for the Colonial to move forward with a plan that would create unique crossover games such as Sterling vs. Oakcrest, Woodbury vs. Bridgeton, and Collingswood vs. Middle Township, among many others.

On Monday, athletic directors from the Cape-Atlantic voted, 16-1 with one abstention, to support the proposal. St. Joseph athletic director Bill Hiltner is believed to have cast the lone dissenting vote.

Cape-Atlantic president Mike Gatley, the athletic director at Mainland, said his league allows athletic directors to make decisions with regard to schedules.

Gatley believes the leagues are "similar" in that there are teams at "both ends" of the competitive scale that would benefit from new crossover games.

Gatley said the "carrot" for the alliance was the possibility that both leagues could join with the West Jersey Football League to form a South Jersey superconference of 95 schools for the 2016 season.

He said the Cape has aligned into three divisions for football in anticipation of the alliance for that reason - to smooth the possible transition to the WJFL in two years.

"The divisions are set up by group size because that's one of the main tenets of the West Jersey," Gatley said of the proposed division alignments in the Cape.

Gatley said that was the reason that St. Joseph would be placed in the Cape's smallest division with Bridgeton, Buena, Middle Township, Lower Cape May, and Pleasantville.

St. Joseph is No. 2 in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings and projects as one of the top five teams in the state next season.

Currently, St. Joseph is a member of the Cape's American Division, which has mostly large public schools.

Under the proposal, the teams in the Cape's new six-school 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 Cape American team twice in the season.

St. Joseph would play five games in the United Division and would be scheduled for three other games, although one of them would be its annual matchup with crosstown rival Hammonton.

It's highly 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 crossover games in the Cape would be against Holy Spirit and St. Augustine.

Here's a look at 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.


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