NJSIAA has announced major changes to the high-school athletics schedule as a result of Superstorm Sandy. The governing body announced the statewide postponement of the entire football schedule as well as the sectional cross-country championships.
High schools are still allowed to play football games this weekend if both schools taking part agree, while others will simply have a bye week. The teams that play this week will be on bye next week.
The decision to push the season back means the opening round of the playoffs will now be held the weekend of Nov. 16-17. The semifinals have been scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 1, with the state championships tentatively slated for the weekend of Dec. 7-8.
The NJSIAA released a statement saying the decision was made because many schools throughout the state are still without power and many coaches have been unable to get in contact with players because of phone service issues.
As of Wednesday night, the Black Horse Pike Regional High School football games were scheduled to go on as planed, with Highland playing at home against Penns Grove (Friday, 7 p.m.), Timber Creek hosting Seneca (Friday, 7 p.m.), and Triton traveling to take on Winslow (Saturday, noon).
Meanwhile, the cross-country sectionals have been rescheduled for Nov. 10, at Delsea.
The postponement means that the group championships that were scheduled for Nov. 10 at Holmdel Park will now be on Nov. 17. The Meet of Champions was originally scheduled for Nov. 17, but has now been moved to a time to be determined.
Moving the Meet of Champions to Nov. 24 may not be likely as it would then be in conflict with the Nike and Foot Locker Northeast Regional Championships, scheduled for the same day. Those regionals are qualifiers for national championship races, so the state's top runners would certainly be conflicted.
The location of the cross-country states and Meet of Champions is also up in the air. They were scheduled to take place at Holmdel, but a confirmation on the location will not be made until officials have a chance to survey the condition of the course.
In girls’ soccer, Timber Creek and Highland each played their first-round contests early and each scored upset wins. The No. 9 Chargers knocked off No. 8 Delsea, 3-1. Timber Creek, which got two goals from Jenny Mosley and one from Hayley DeFeo, will face No. 1 Hammonton or No. 16. Winslow in the quarterfinals.
The No. 11 Tartans pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the playoffs so far, defeating No. 6 Burlington Township, 2-1, in overtime. The Tartans got goals from Renae Moken and Brianna Squilla. They will take on either No. 3 Kingsway or No. 14 Lacey.
On the boys’ side, No. 4 Timber Creek easily advanced to the Group 3 quarterfinals with a 4-0 win over Westampton Tech. Gian Duclos, Trevor Hatton, Vincent Palmucci and Matt Wolf all scored, while Trevor Tierno made five saves for the shutout. The Chargers await the winner of No. 5 Cumberland/No. 12 Oakcrest.