West Jersey Football League Facing Challenges, but Ready to Kickoff
One week from today the West Jersey Football League will kickoff its six game season all over South Jersey.
There have been plenty of challenges getting the league off the ground in the middle of a pandemic.
While some teams have already held scrimmages, others are still trying to find their way. For example, Washington Twp. high school was just forced to shut down for two weeks, cause the league to scramble around and find games for everyone.
"Its been one thing after another," said West Jersey Football League President Derryk Sellers.
Going to a game this year will also have a different look and feel.
The Governor mandated that no more than 500 fans are to be in attendance at a game this year.
Many schools are giving two tickets per player and they can distribute them to whomever they would like.
Some schools have announced they will not have any fans attend games this season.
Other are breaking it down as a 6-/40 split - 300 tickets to the home team, 200 to the visiting team.
Some of the new rules and procedures in place for the 2020 season include:
- Each kid must have their own water bottle, kids must leave the field during a timeout to go and get their own water bottle.
- There will be only one captain for the coin toss for each team
- There will be no shaking hands after the game
- There will be no use of the locker rooms.
- The sideline will not be extended from the 10-yard line to the 10-yard line as opposed to the 25 yard lines, to allow teams to distance. Only one coach will be allowed to be in the area between the 25 and 10-yard areas.
As for the playoffs, nearby states like Delaware and Pennsylvania recently announced they would be having state playoff games. As of this moment, New Jersey will not, but like everything else, it is fluid.
In a six game schedule, it will be tough to establish playoff guidelines if teams end up missing a game due to a COVID-19 issue. What if one team only plays four-or-five games, are they no longer eligible to be a part of the playoffs? That was one of the reasons for the decision.
"We will definitely try and re-visit this," Sellers says.
There will however be some "postseason" games per Sellers.
Before the Thanksgiving games are played, four teams will be paired together andput in a "pod" based on who signs up to play in the games. So four teams will be placed in a pod together and play one weekend. The winners will face=off the following weekend and the losers will be paired up that same weekend.
This will be set up geographically, and with teams that might not otherwise face each other in a normal year.