EAST ORANGE – In an effort to create a more competitive balance for high school football, athletic directors representing four conferences gathered to officially approve the creation of the North Jersey Super Football Conference, during a meeting at Mayfair Farms in West Orange on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
Believed to be the largest high school football conference in the nation, the NJSFC consists of 113 schools merged from the Big North Conference, Super Essex Conference, Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference and Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic League.
The conference, which will begin play in 2016, is broken down into several divisions, based on Group size, geography and caliber of program, to create better matchups for football teams, said Nutley High School athletic director Joe Piro, the president of the NJSFC, who moderated the meeting.
East Orange Campus High School will be in Liberty Division C. The other teams in the division are Montclair, West Orange, Livingston, Morristown, Columbia and Bloomfield.
Orange High School is in Patriot Division B. The other teams in that division are West Essex, Parsippany Hills, Nutley, Barringer, Chatham and Ferris.
The non-public and public teams also are separated into their own divisions. Essentially, the non-publics will play each other, though there are a few non-divisional games involving non-public versus public teams.
The athletic directors voted to approve the creation of the conference and other by-laws, including scheduling.
Teams also are given the option of forfeiting games for various reasons. That must be done through a mutual agreement between the two opposing teams. “Paper” wins and losses will be awarded, for the purpose of divisional standings. However, if a forfeit happens, teams could still find another team to play in an effort to fill their schedule.
Denis Nelson, athletic director at River Dell Regional High School, said input was sought from football coaches in helping to devise the team schedules, which consist of divisional games and non-divisional games. The non-divisional, or so-called “crossover,” games, were based on the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference model for preferred requests and the SEC strength of program power rankings.
“We did the best we could in creating as many competitive games as possible,” Nelson said in his speech.
The divisions and crossovers will be recalculated every two years, as most conferences currently do for other sports.
The NJSFC could also try to get South Jersey non-publics to play the NFSFC non-public teams if a vote to separate non-publics and publics in the state is passed by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Scholastic Athletic Association member schools during its December 7 meeting.
Piro thanked members of the executive committee for their tireless hard work since the summer in helping to put the conference together. Piro mentioned the endless possibilities for the conference, such as t.v. broadcasting.