SECAUCUS, NJ - The North Jersey Interscholastic Conference (NJIC) announced its revised schedule for the upcoming football season to the media over the weekend.
While colleges across the country are bailing out of fall sports, including the New Jersey Athletic Conference, which canceled fall sports on Monday, the NJSIAA, and the NJIC, is still going forward with plans for the upcoming season, for now. While October is still two months away, this is what the landscape will hopefully look like.
Adding more change, and confusion, as change always brings confusion, the NJIC has realigned into five divisions with the addition of the Union Division, for football teams that have struggled, are anticipating have troubles making numbers, and want to be matched up against teams in similar circumstances. The Union Division teams will play among themselves only, and are not eligible for consideration for the state playoffs.
Teams joining the Union Division are, from the Patriot Division: Emerson, Bogota and Weehawken, from the Liberty: Elmwood Park, Colonial: Palisades Park/Leonia and Ridgefield, who when they last played football back in 2016, were in the Meadowlands Division.
The league then re-jiggered the divisions, strictly by enrollment to come up with the following breakouts.
|Waldwick-Midland Park||555||Saddle Brook||435|
|North Arlington||392||St. Mary||148|
The weekend of October 2 and 3 will be the kickoff to the season, a month later than normal. Hasbrouck Heights will host Cresskill in a game that would likely be the Meadowlands Division crown once again. Last year, the Cougars jumped on the Aviators, handing them a 35-14 loss at Cresskill. Hasbrouck Heights would not lose again until the North 2, Group 1 final against Park Ridge.
Wood-Ridge opens it season at home against Becton in a cross-over game. This was the game that was supposed to be played at the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton prior to be postponed due to the pandemic.
Week Two has Wood-Ridge opening their division schedule against St. Mary, Saturday afternoon in Rutherford. Hasbrouck Heights travels to play Park Ridge in a crossover game, looking for revenge from last season's loss in the state playoffs.
Week Three has Butler traveling to Wood-Ridge, while Hasbrouck Heights visits Secaucus. Week Four has the Aviators on the road once again, traveling to North Arlington, while Wood-Ridge hosts Wallington.
Week 5 ends divisional play, as Hasbrouck Heights returns home to face Becton, while Wood-Ridge plays defending North Group 1 Champion Park Ridge in Park Ridge.
At the end of the four-game divisional season, the crossovers will follow, with the Meadowlands and Patriot Division champions squaring off in Week 5, with the Meadowlands winner hosting the game. The winner of this game will be crowned the NJIC South Champions.
The second place finishers will also square off, while the third place finishers in the Meadowlands will play the fifth place finishers in the Patriot, the fifth place in Meadowland will play the third place in the Patriot, and the two fourth place finishers will square off.
On the weekend of November 13/14 and November 20/21 will be the state playoffs in a format that has yet to be announced. (There have been conflicting reports.)
What is yet to be determined is whether the NJSIAA will allow the NJIC to play its Championship Game on the weekend of Thanksgiving, and whether any of the other cross-over games will be allowed.
Of course, all of this is subject to change at any moment over the course of the season, depending on how state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic when school restarts, when games restart, and if the predicted Wave 2 of the virus hits New Jersey.
But this is the plan for now, after much work by the NJSIAA and NJIC governing bodies.
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