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Football: Group 5 is here

Despite some opposition from SJ administrators, the NJSIAA executive committee on Wednesday approved a proposal to create a Group 5 for the public school football playoffs.

The change takes effect for the season that begins in September. The vote was 21-5 with three abstentions.

Kingsway AD Joe Galliera and Gloucester superintendent Paul Spaventa urged the committee to table the proposal for another month to allow for more consideration, discussion and debate.

"It just felt like it was rushed through," Galliera said.

The expanded field is expected to be a money-maker for the NJSIAA, which has lost nearly $2 million since 2006. The NJSIAA made $101,000 on football in 2011 and $91,000 on football in 2010.

The new format expands the public school tournament by 25 percent.

"It has the potential to be an additional revenue stream," NJSIAA executive director Steve Timko said.

Under the new format, each group has 15 teams. Under the old format, each group had 19 teams.

SJ 5 has the 15 largest schools, SJ 4 the next-15 largest, and so on.

SJ 4 is an interesting-looking group with Shawnee dropping down to compete with tradition Group 3 teams such as Timber Creek, Hammonton, Moorestown and Lacey Twp.

Delsea, which could have dropped down to SJ 2 under the old format, now looks like the team to beat in SJ 3.

To balance the groups, Pennsauken could move to CJ 4. The Indians are the defending SJ 4 champs.

Several traditional SJ 1 teams could move to CJ 1 as well.

Here's a look at the projected groups. Note, this breakdown is based on last season's enrollment figures. The alignments could change slightly based on next year's enrollment figures:

South Jersey 5
Absegami, Atlantic City, Cherokee, Cherry Hill East, Eastern, Egg Habor Twp., Lenape, Millville, Rancocas Valley, Southern, Toms River East, Toms River North, Vineland, Washington Twp., Williamstown

South Jersey 4
Cherry Hill West, Clearview, Cumberland, Hammonton, Kingsway, Lacey, Mainland, Moorestown, Oakcrest, Seneca, Shawnee, Timber Creek, Toms River South, Triton, Winslow Twp.

South Jersey 3
Bridgeton, Burlington Twp., Camden, Central, Delsea, Deptford, Highland, Lower Cape May, Manchester Twp., Ocean City, Pemberton, Pinelands, Point Pleasant Boro, Sterling, Woodrow Wilson

South Jersey 2
Barnegat, Bordentown, Buena, Cinnaminson, Collingswood, Delran, Haddon Heights, Haddonfield, Middle Twp., Overbrook, Pleasantville, Robbinsville, West Deptford, Willingboro, Woodstown

South Jersey 1
Audubon, Cedar Creek, Clayton, Gateway, Glassboro, Gloucester, Lindenwold, Paulsboro, Penns Grove, Pennsville, Pitman, Salem, Schalick, Wildwood, Woodbury

* Central Jersey 4 includes Pennsauken
* Central Jersey 3 includes Northern Burlington
* Central Jersey 1 includes Burlington City, Florence, Haddon Twp., Maple Shade, Palmyra and Riverside

* Phil Anastasia