The month of September is usually synonymous with the end of summer and students heading back to class.

It also means the start of another exciting high school football season here in South Jersey.

With kickoff just days away, teams are wrapping up training camp and setting their sights on their first opponent. One man who's also been busy preparing for the 2012 fall sports season is Mike Gatley. He's the President of a newly modeled Cape-Atlantic League, which now features two nine-team conferences.

We asked him what went into the creation of the new format, what he expects to see this fall, and what's next for the future of the league after the impending exit of Hammonton.

Press of Atlantic City sports writer Mike McGarry has been locked away for weeks, diligently crafting his high school football predictions for 2012. Find out how Absegami's offensive transition without its best play-maker may not be as difficult as once expected, and why it could be a rough start for Holy Spirit. He also explained why the C.A.L.'s newest school should be considered a conference favorite, and why a new coaching staff in Richland means expectations couldn't be higher.

They may not be a part of the Cape-Atlantic League, but one local high school football program is hoping to take the region by storm this season; that's because they plan on unleashing a true 'Warrior' on their opponents. Cape May County Gazette sports writer Brian Cunniff sizes up one of South Jersey's most highly-recruited college prospects, a young man he describes as an "athletic freak".

South Jersey Hall of Fame sports reporter Tom Williams also gives his thoughts on the start of the 2012 high school football season. He'll explain a streak of bad luck for one team in Cape May County, the potential for a new rivalry between schools only 10 miles apart, and what other fall sports will be grabbing headlines this year.

Bill Smallwood is a Port Republic native and a long-time fixture in several local triathlons. After two successful events in June, he'll be organizing a race in the quiet shore town later this month. He joined us on the South Jersey Sports Report to explain why he believes there's a growing interest in the unique form of competition, and how extreme temperatures are affecting preparations for races this summer.


Listen to this week's show:

Mike Gatley, Cape-Atlantic League President

Bill Smallwood, Shoreman Half-Distance Triathlon/Aqua-Bike organizer

Brian Cunniff, Cape May County Gazette sports reporter

Mike McGarry, Press of Atlantic City sports writer

Tom Williams, South Jersey Hall of Fame sports writer


97.3 ESPN-FM has you covered for all your local high school football action. Tune in every Friday night at 6 p.m. for "The Countdown to Kickoff", previewing the the week's best matchups. We'll also be talking to coaches and players across the Cape-Atlantic League.

Then listen in live to some of the best high school games of the week. This Friday two local powers go head-to-head to open the season, as the Holy Spirit Spartans travel to Hammonton to take on the Blue Devils. You can catch all the action here Friday night on 97.3 ESPN-FM.