Realignment alters football landscape
Powers Timber Creek and Camden Catholic will be in the same division in a revamped league.
Projected 2012 powers Timber Creek and Camden Catholic will be in the same division in a realigned West Jersey Football League, The Inquirer has learned.
The Chargers, who went 12-0 last season and won the South Jersey Group 3 title, and the Irish, who went 10-1 and reached the Non-Public 2 state final, will be members of the Constitution Division along with Moorestown, Cherry Hill West, Paul VI, and Seneca.
The realignment for the 2012 and 2013 seasons eliminates the Independence and Capitol Divisions and creates 10, six-team divisions and one, five-team division.
Cherry Hill East jumps from the National to become the sixth team in the American, while Kingsway and Triton move from the Royal to the National.
"I like the idea of having more teams," said Pennsauken coach Clinton Tabb, whose team went 11-1 last season and won WJFL National title as well as the South Jersey Group 4 title. "We've never played Kingsway."
Triton coach Pete Goetz said it's "pick your poison" in a new division with perennial powers such as Pennsauken and Shawnee.
The re-constituted Royal includes just two teams that were in the division last season - Delsea and Cumberland - and adds former Independence members Woodrow Wilson, Camden, Deptford, and Bishop Eustace.
"That's a very interesting division," said Woodrow Wilson coach Chris Crowley, whose team has developed a rivalry with Delsea, playing three times in the last two seasons.
Of playing Delsea as a division rival, Crowley said, "The Delsea-Wilson game will be one that gets circled on the calendar every year for both teams."
The Diamond has a new look, as former Royal member Highland and former Independence member Gloucester Catholic will join with Glassboro, the South Jersey Group 1 champion, and Penns Grove, Schalick, and Woodstown.
To make room for Highland and Gloucester Catholic, Gloucester moves down from the Diamond to the Classic to join South Jersey Group 1 runner-up Pennsville as well as Clayton, Pitman, Salem, and Wildwood.
There's a revamped Patriot with holdovers Willingboro and Burlington Township and four new teams: Northern Burlington, Pemberton, Lawrence and Princeton.
Former Patriot teams Cinnaminson, Holy Cross, and Delran have moved to the Liberty in a division with Bordentown, Robbinsville, and Ewing.
Florence, the Central Jersey Group 1 runner-up, moves out of the Liberty and into the Freedom with Burlington City, Maple Shade, Palmyra, Riverside, and New Egypt.
The league is still working to finalize crossover games for the 2012-13 scheduling cycle, with a goal of maintaining Thanksgiving weekend rivalries and other traditional battles.
Timber Creek's addition to the Constitution could create some strong competition, as the Chargers are projected to be a top-five team next season with top returning players such as Greg Webb, Dajaun Drennon, Myles Nash, and Eric Church.
The division will include burgeoning power Camden Catholic, which should be led by Jarred Alwan as well as Tom Wescott, Jeff Miller, Sean Collins, and Will Jackson.
Moorestown should have a top offense featuring Drew Pederson, Sidney Ruffin, and Anthony Bonnet, while Paul VI, Seneca, and Cherry Hill West are expected to be improved next season.
"Tough conference," Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson said.
Here are the new alignments for the West Jersey Football League, which will start its third season in 2012.
Cherry Hill East
Cherry Hill West
West Windsor North
West Windsor South
- Phil Anastasia