WJFL Does a Great Job in Getting Season Played

WJFL Does a Great Job in Getting Season Played
This year the NJSIAA decided that there would be no conference championships in football, no state championship, or even sectional titles. 
So credit goes to the West Jersey Football League (WJFL), for at least creating an unofficial title for the No. 1 team in South Jersey. 
The WJFL consists of 95 teams including all in South Jersey and some in Central Jersey 
The NJSIAA’s rules had six-game schedules for each team. There was also the allowance of two other games, but they wouldn’t be called playoffs, just two scheduled games.  
The WJFL decided to put teams in pods, placing the top teams in various Group sizes, sort of line an unofficial playoff. 
The most anticipated grouping was Pod A, which consisted of Lenape, Cherokee, Holy Spirit and Winslow Township. All four teams were undefeated at the time. 
In the semifinals, Holy Spirit routed Winslow Township, 34-0, while Lenape scored a 31-28 overtime win over Cherokee in a classic game between Lenape School District teams.  
That set up last Friday’s unofficial South Jersey championship game between host Holy Spirit and Lenape. 
Holy Spirit won the game, 21-7 to improve to 7-0. So the Spartans will be the No. 1 team in South Jersey (barring an upset loss on Thanksgiving to rival Atlantic City). 
Another interesting matchup was Paulsboro beating Salem 22-13 in the Bracket D final. These were clearly the best two Group 1 schools so it was an unofficial Group 1 title for the Red Raiders, who finished 7-0. 
Nobody could have been in a more difficult situation than WJFL first-year commissioner Derryk Sellers, the athletic director at Lindenwold. 
Running the league is difficult enough in normal times with so many teams, but Sellers had to totally redo the schedules.  
Before the pandemic, teams had their schedules set, playing nine regular season games. When the NJSIAA decided to cut the season, another recommendation was that teams should try to cut travel as much as possible). 
So the teams had to play competitive games, but those that were as close to home as possible. For instance, Lenape ended up playing all three of the other teams in the Lenape School District – Cherokee, Shawnee and Seneca The Indians also played Eastern and Rancocas Valley.  
Lenape’s longest trip was to Holy Spirit and is just 49 miles, about a one-hour drive.  
Not all the pod games could be played. For instance, Camden, one of the top Group 2 teams was supposed to visit Ocean City in one final, but Camden decided not to make the trip to Ocean City and canceled the game. 
Other games were canceled due to COVID-19, but the fact that there was one game that was played for the unofficial championship of South Jersey, made this a rousing success. 
Even if the game never materialized, schools in South Jersey did a great job in giving the youngsters a season to compete.  

The fact that there will be a No. 1 team in South Jersey, is just another success story on a season that many thought would not be played. 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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