The 2022 New Jersey High School Football Season: The Basics
In a typical August, the high school football season would be about to kick off its probationary period and scrimmage would be right around the corner. This season, however, the NJSIAA football schedule doesn’t officially start until August 22, so anyone looking for their football fix will have to wait another week.
Since we here at Shore Sports Network are also looking forward to getting started, we’re going to skip things over with a broad look at the Shore conference landscape in 2022. There’s a new divisional realignment and some dates on the calendar to look forward to already.
Let’s first take a look at what the six divisions of the Shore Conference will look like for the coming year.
Class A North
Christian Brethren Academy (boys only)
Boro in full ownership
In: Boro in full ownership
Out: long branch
Class A plant
Red Bank Catholic
Rumson Fair Haven
Trinity Hall (girls only)
In: Wall, Trinity Hall
Class A South
East Toms River
North Toms River
South Toms River
Class B North
Saint Jean Vianney
In: Long Branch, Ocean
Out: Freehold Boro, Wall
Class B plant
Pleasant Pointe Beach
Out: Mater Dei Prep
Class B South
Point Pleasant Boro
It’s still a bit too early to tell exactly what the ramifications of this year’s realignment will be. Long Branch has been one of the strongest Class A North teams in recent years, while Freehold Boro has struggled to keep pace with Class B North, so it stands to reason that Class B North is becoming more strong and class A North a little weaker.
Wall leaving Class B North takes a powerhouse out of that division, but the Crimson Knights trade places with Ocean — another program with plenty of recent success on its resume. This trade could very well be a washout, especially with both teams replacing a lot of talent from last season.
The only other notable change is that Class B Central is reduced to six teams following the permanent closure of Mater Dei. It’s a sobering vacation for the many locals who grew up with Mater Dei as a dynamic member of the Shore Conference, but it’s also an opportunity for teams like St. Rose, Ranney and Point. Beach to pick up opponents. this will help them improve their profiles and prepare them for the playoffs.
With the divisional roster established, here are some dates to keep in mind as we navigate through the season.
First day of practice: August 22
First day of scrums: August 29
Opening day: September 8
Conference Tournament Ashore: To be determined
NJSIAA Tournament Deadline: October 22
NJSIAA Tournament Seed Release: October 24
NJSIAA Public Tournament Dates
First round: October 27
Section quarter-finals: October 31
Section semi-finals: November 2
Section finals: November 5
County semi-finals: November 9
Departmental finals: November 13
First round: October 31
Section quarter-finals: November 2
Section semi-finals: November 5
Section finals: November 9
Departmental finals: November 13
If it seems like the NJSIAA tournament is starting earlier, ending earlier, and playing at a breakneck pace, you’d never imagine. The boys’ state tournament will begin on the last Thursday in October rather than the last Monday in October or the first Monday in November. The final three rounds of the sectional tournaments, meanwhile, will take place in just six days, with only one day off between the quarter-finals and the sectional semi-finals.
This schedule also applies to the girls, with their tournament schedule running a day in advance (opening round on October 26 and national finals on November 12).
The public and non-public championships will also take place on the same day, which means those of us (read: media) who would like to watch each state final will likely have to make a decision on November 13.
The modified NJSIAA tournament schedule will also require the Shore conference tournament to make some changes, which have yet to be officially settled. In recent years, the tournament has been ranked in the middle of the second week of October and started on the third Saturday of the month. The championship game, meanwhile, took place on the last Wednesday or Thursday in October, but that won’t be the case this year with the NJSIAA tournament set to begin on October 27.
Most conference teams have their final division games scheduled for the last week of October, so it’s likely that the Shore Conference Tournament will start a few days earlier this season and end no later than Monday, October 24 in order to to give teams enough time to prepare for the NJSIAA tournament, but details are yet to be finalized.
So looking at the big picture, the New Jersey high school football season runs from August 22 to November 13, which is 84 calendar days in total and 67 since the start of the regular season. For comparison, football practice starts on August 15, regular season games can start on August 26, and the state championships will be played on December 4 – a total of 112 days and 101 of the first day of games. on the last day of the departmental finals.
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