2015 Season will be Final Year of Cape Atlantic League Football
While many people are celebrating the Cape-Atlantic League's merger for football with the West Jersey Football Conference - it does mark the end of the league which has been a staple since 1948.
The League formed in the fall of 1948 with Cape May, Egg Harbor City, Hammonton, Middle Twp., Ocean City and Wildwood high schools. While the league has had many looks and changes over the years, the 21 teams that remain have plenty of great memories to share about Cape-Atlantic League football.
Many like the move and think that it will be good for the future of football in the area, an area which is very challenging to schedule for football due to the vast enrollment discrepancies. While playing five-or-six games is fine for many, it's filling the entire schedule has become increasingly more difficult over the years.
Many high school football fans will remember Lower Cape May having to forfeit game verse Holy Spirit for safety reasons, Pleasantville just ended a memorable losing streak, with many of those losses coming against much bigger schools, that have a huge competitive advantage over them. Wildwood has struggled to field a team in recent years, leaving the CAL in 2002 to try more competitive balance.
Tom Williams of Prime Events joined Mike Frankel on the South Jersey Sports Report and discussed some of the reasons that might be overlooked in this merger.
"Im not crazy about the fact that in 2016 for the first time since 1948 there won't be a Cape-Atlantic League football champion," Williams said. "You like to maintain that history."
One major issue the CAL had to deal with was competitive balance. The geography of southern New Jersey has changed drastically since the 1990's. Towns like Margate, Ventnor and Ocean City have become much more seasonal hurting enrollment at both Atlantic City and Ocean City high.
People that used to live in those areas have flocked to areas like Egg Harbor Twp., Galloway and Mays Landing, making them so large that many of the schools that reside in the south can't compete, like Middle, Lower and Wildwood.
The amount of group II schools coupled with the amount of Group IV schools in such a small area made scheduling very difficult. That coupled with tree non-public powers in football - it become a nightmare.
"It's difficult to satisfy everybody," Williams acknowledged. "I just wish that wasn't the goal to satisfy everybody. For whatever reason it just didn't work out, they think it's going to work out better in the West Jersey Conference."
(Listen to Tom Williams discuss the CAL/WJFL football merger)