By Phil Anastasia
New South Jersey champions Shawnee and Delsea will move up to divisions with larger schools, and new member Hammonton will be in the same group as perennial power Timber Creek in a re-aligned West Jersey Football League.
The 66-team league finalized its new divisions on Wednesday.
The league will have 11 divisions with six teams each. WJFL president Bud Kowal, the athletic director at Ewing, said each team will be given a full, nine-game schedule.
In another major change, Lenape will move out of the American Division and into the Colonial Division with Mercer County programs such as Allentown, Notre Dame, Nottingham and Trenton along with Rancocas Valley.
Shawnee, which won the South Jersey Group 4 title, will replace Lenape in the Americcan Division. The Renegades had been a member of the National Division.
Timber Creek will move up to the National Division from the Constitution. Another member of the new National Division will be Hammonton, which will join the WJFL next season.
Hammonton and Timber Creek will be in the re-vamped National Division along with Delsea, two-time South Jersey Group 3 champion that will move up two divisions from the Royal.
Kowal said Delsea "has been our most successful program" the last two years and that was the reason for the Crusaders' jump to a division with larger schools.
Camden Catholic will move from the Constitution to the Royal, effectively replacing Delsea in that division.
Kowal said many of the moves were made because of the "strength of program" component of the WJFL's list of criteria for alignment.
With Timber Creek and Hammonton in the same divisions, the schools would not be scheduled to play a cross-over that that they both could have opted out of -- a scenario proposed by Timber Creek to allow the Chargers to play an out-of-state game and the Blue Devils to keep their traditional rivalry with Cape Atlantic League team St. Joseph.
Kowal said Timber Creek wanted to opt out of a Week One game and the WJFL plays division games in Weeks 1-3-5-7.
Kowal said any team can opt out of a cross-over game if its mutually agreed by both schools.
Kowal said the WJFL likely will firm up cross-over games sometime after the new year.
HERE'S THE NEW ALIGNMENT FOR 2014 and 2015
Freedom: Burlington City, Florence, Maple Shade, New Egypt, Palmyra, Riverside
Liberty: Bordentown, Cinnaminson, Delran, Holy Cross, Pemberton, Robbinsville
Patriot: Burlington Twp., Ewing, Hopewell, Lawrence, Northern Burlington Willingboro
Valley: Hamilton West, Highstown, Princeton, Steinert, West Windsor North, West Windsor South
Colonial: Allentown, Lenape, Notre Dame Nottingham, Rancocas Valley, Trenton
American: Cherokee, Cherry Hill East, Eastern, Shawnee, Washington Township, Williamstown
National: Clearview, Delsea, Hammonton, Kingsway, Pennsauken, Timber Creek
Constitution: Cherry Hill West, Moorestown, Paul VI, Seneca, Triton, Winslow
Royal: Bishop Eustace, Camden, Camden Catholic, Cumberland, Highland, Woodrow Wilson
Diamond: Deptford, Gloucester Catholic, Glassboro, Penns Grove, Schalick, Woodstown
Classic: Clayton, Pennsville, Gloucester, Pitman, Salem, Wildwood
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com