By TOM WILLIAMS
Ocean City will open its 2018 football schedule on September 7 at Egg Harbor Township it was announced today by the West Jersey Football League.
As previously determined, the Raiders will play in the Independence Division with Absegami, Bridgeton, EHT, Mainland and Oakcrest. Kevin Smith’s team will play non-division games against St. Augustine, Triton and Pleasantville. The home games will be against Bridgeton, St. Augustine, Oakcrest and Mainland.
“The schedule is competitive, but fair,” said Ocean City coach Kevin Smith. “We could win a bunch of games or lose a bunch. The Prep will be tough but no real mis-matches one way or the other.”
Under the new NJSIAA playoff format, teams schedule only eight games instead of nine and will get at least two games – either consolation or playoff – to bring the number to a minimum of 10. The playoffs will begin the first weekend in November, sectional champions will be determined the weekend before Thanksgiving and the champions will play in “bowl” games the first weekend in December.
Here are highlights of the football schedules for the other Cape-Atlantic League and former CAL schools, starting with the other schools in the Independence Division.
Absegami will play non-division games against Cedar Creek, Hammonton and Moorestown.
Bridgeton will play crossovers with Cumberland, Millville and Delsea.
EHT, the Raiders’ opening opponent, will play outside the division against Kingsway, Washington Township and Cherry Hill East.
Mainland will play non-division games with Cherry Hill West, Clearview and Middle Township.
Oakcrest will play crossovers with Highland, Middle Township and Cedar Creek.
Lower Cape May, Middle Township, Buena and Pleasantville play in the United Division along with Gloucester City and Gloucester Catholic.
Lower Cape May’s crossovers are with Riverside, Haddon Township and Wildwood.
Middle will play non-division games with Wildwood, Oakcrest and Mainland.
Buena will crossover against Haddon Township, Lindenwold and Clayton.
Pleasantville will play outside the division against Maple Shade, Cedar Creek and Ocean City.
Wildwood is in the Classic Division with Clayton, Haddon Township, Maple Shade, Riverside and Robbinsville. The Warriors’ crossovers are with Middle Township, Lower Cape May and Gloucester City.
Holy Spirit will play in the Royal Division with Eastern, Hammonton, Kingsway and Washington Township. The Spartans will play crossover games against Camden Catholic, St. Augustine, St. Joseph and Atlantic City.
Hammonton’s crossovers are with Timber Creek, Shawnee, Absegami and Winslow Township.
Cedar Creek is in the Constitution Division with Camden, Camden Catholic, Delsea, Willingboro and Woodrow Wilson. The Pirates will play non-division games with Absegami, Pleasantville and Oakcrest.
St. Augustine is in the American Division with Cherokee, Lenape, Rancocas Valley, Shawnee and Williamstown. The Prep will play crossovers against St. Joseph, Ocean City and Holy Spirit.
Atlantic City is in the Continental Division with Millville, St. Joseph, Timber Creek and Vineland. The Vikings will play crossovers with Washington Township, Williamstown, Eastern and Holy Spirit.
Millville’s non-division games are with Williamstown, Kingsway, Cherokee and Bridgeton.
St. Joseph will play crossovers with St. Augustine, Haddonfield, West Deptford and Holy Spirit.
Vineland’s crossover games are against Lenape, Trenton Central, Rancocas Valley and Washington Township.
Cumberland plays in the National Division with Cherry Hill East, Cherry Hill West, Pennsauken, Seneca and Triton. The Colts will play crossovers with Bridgeton, Penns Grove and Schalick.
There are no changes with the Thanksgiving Week matchups – Ocean City is at Pleasantville, Lower Cape May at Middle, Atlantic City at Holy Spirit, Millville at Vineland, Cumberland at Schalick, Absegami at Oakcrest and Egg Harbor Township at Mainland.
But there are a few changes. St. Augustine will not continue its series with Malvern Prep, Lower Cape May will no longer play Cape Henlopen and, on the Friday after Labor Day, Middle Township will host Wildwood. It will be the first football game between the Panthers and Warriors since 2009.