Tag: classifications

NJSIAA reclassifications move five Big Central teams; others will have new competition, too

According to the NJSIAA football classifications released to the public on its website, five Big Central Conference football teams will compete for a playoff spot in new sections this coming season, with three of them moving up to a larger group size.

Rahway will move up to the North Group 4 playoff supersection, which will feature 31 teams in all. Last year, the Indians played in South 3 with the likes of Carteret, Somerville and South Plainfield. Now, they’re in a supersection with nine other Big Central teams, all with larger populations, including Colonia, JFK, Linden, Montgomery, North Hunterdon, Ridge, Sayreville, Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Woodbridge.

Only one of those schools – Scotch Plains – is in their Big Central division, which also includes Cranford, Summit and St. Thomas Aquinas. Linden, however, is on Rahway’s schedule as an early season divisional crossover.

Hillside also moved up, with the Comets jumping from South Group 2 to North Group 3. They’re in with fellow Big Central schools Cranford, Governor Livingston, North Plainfield and Summit. None of those teams are in their division, however, nor on their schedule as a crossover. The Comets are in a BCC division with New Providence, Roselle, Metuchen and Johnson. With a weaker schedule than the teams they’ll be competing with for playoff spots, such a move at this late date would likely hurt their playoff positioning later in the year.

READ MORE: Who’s the “strongest” Big Central team heading into ’22? We take a deep dive into the numbers

Dayton makes a move up from North Group 1 to North Group 2, and will join fellow Big Central members on Johnson, Bound Brook, Delaware Valley Roselle, Metuchen, New Providence, South River and Spotswood. The Bulldogs and Chargers are also in Dayton’s as-yet-unnamed Big Central division.

Bernards and Dunellen made lateral moves.

The Mountaineers shift over from South Group 2 – where they were previously the second Northern-most school (Newark Central being the furtherst North) – to North Group 2, where they are geographically the Southern-most team. Not only that, they are the only Big Central team in North 2, which is heavy on Bergen County teams and has others from northwest Jersey like Sussex Tech and Newton.

The Destroyers bounce over from North Group 1 to South Group 1, leaving BCC schools like Brearley, Belvidere and Roselle Park, and rejoin former GMC mates like Highland Park and Middlesex, as well as Big Central foes South Hunterdon and Manville. Those two and Middlesex all are in Dunellen’s league division with the Owls also on their schedule.

READ MORE: Strength of Schedule and OSI for 2022 H.S. Football; did the Big Central get it right?

In the non-public realm, St. Joseph-Metuchen will remain in Non-Public Group A, while St. Thomas Aquinas is in Non-Public Group B again. For the Non-Public Equivalency, the Falcons are a Group 3, while the Trojans are a Group 1, the same as last year. Neither team is a multiplier again this year for power point purposes.

For a complete look at the NJSIAA football classifications for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, click here for a downloadable PDF.

Here’s a list of all the Big Central teams and their NJSIAA classification:

  • North 5: Bridgewater-Raritan, Elizabeth, JP Stevens, Phillipsburg, Piscataway, Plainfield, Union, Watchung Hills, Westfield
  • South 5: East Brunswick, Edison, Franklin, Hillsborough, Hunterdon Central, Monroe, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, South Brunswick
  • North 4: Colonia, JFK, Linden, Montgomery, North Hunterdon, Rahway, Ridge, Sayreville, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Woodbridge
  • South 4: none
  • North 3: Cranford, Governor Livingston, Hillside, North Plainfield, Summit, Voorhees
  • South 3: Carteret, Somerville, South Plainfield
  • North 2: Bernards
  • South 2: Roselle, Johnson, Bound Brook, Delaware Valley, Dayton, Metuchen, New Providence, South River, Spotswood
  • North 1: Belvidere, Brearley, Roselle Park
  • South 1: Dunellen, Highland Park, Manville, Middlesex, South Hunterdon
  • Non-Public A: St. Joseph-Metuchen
  • Non-Public B: St. Thomas Aquinas

Locally speaking, outside the Big Central Conference, Immaculata and Pingry both will are classified in Non-Public B again, and are a Group 1 public equivalency. Neither will be a multiplier for power point purposes.

NJSIAA announces final football classifications for 2021/22 cycle

The NJSIAA has officially announced its final football classifications for the two-year cycle covering its 2021 and 2022 seasons, posting them on its website at this afternoon.

The classifications are based on enrollment in grades 9 through 11, and used to group teams into sections for playoff qualification. Group size also is a factor in the traditional power point formula, which is still used to determine playoff qualification as 40 percent of the NJ United Power Ranking (UPR) formula, with the other 60 percent being the Opponent Strength Index, or OSI.

The big news is that a few Big Central teams will not make the anticipated moves that were in a draft NJSIAA classification document circulating back in August.

For example, Bernards would have moved from the South 2 supersection to North 2, but instead will remain in South 2.

North Plainfield was to move from North 3 to South 3 along with Carteret, South Plainfield and Rahway. But the Canucks will remain, while the rest go.

And Dunellen and Roselle Park will remain in North 1, instead of moving to South 1.

In all, only ten of the 60 teams in the Big Central Conference will make a move in the new cycle:

  • Ridge moves down from North 5 to North 4
  • Sayreville moves down and over from South 5 to North 4
  • Perth Amboy moves over from North 5 to South 5
  • North Hunterdon and Cranford move down from North 4 to North 3
  • Bound Brook and New Providence move up from North 1 to North 2
  • Carteret, South Plainfield and Rahway move over from North 3 to South 3

Click below to view or download the NJSIAA’s official 2021-22 Football Classifications:

More than a dozen Big Central football teams do the shuffle in new NJSIAA public school classifications

Though the NJSIAA has not publicly posted on its website the new football classifications that will begin being used in 2021, a draft proposal that several athletic directors say is official shows 14 Big Central Conference public school teams moving to new supersections this season.

Of those, only four teams are moving down to a lower group, while just two are moving up.

The NJSIAA reclassifies schools every annually, though it has not done so since 2018. That was in part due to wanting consistency with a new playoff formula, and – last year – due to COVID-19 and the lack of NJSIAA playoffs.

Classifications are based on the sum of students in grades 9, 10 and 11.

Movin’ On Up…

Making the jump from North 1 to South 2 are Bound Brook and New Providence, both of whom saw enrollment increase by about 20 students. They had been the two largest schools in that section.

Now, the Crusaders and Pioneers will join a supersection that includes fellow Big Central members A.L. Johnson, Spotswood, Delaware Valley, Metuchen, Roselle, South River and Hillside.

Bound Brook and New Providence are division-mates in Big Central Division 1A along with Middlesex, Roselle Park and Brearley.

Brearley and Dayton are the lone remaining Big Central teams in the North 1 supersection, thanks in part to other changes. (See “Lateral Moves” below.)

Going Down, Down…

The four teams dropping down a group are Ridge, Sayreville, North Hunterdon and Cranford.

Ridge – which saw its enrollment drop by about 100 students – will move from North 5 to North 4, the first time it has been a Group 4 school since the NJSIAA expanded from four to five groups for the start of the 2012 season. The Red Devils won the North 2, Group 5 title in 2013.

Sayreville only saw enrollment drop by a couple dozen or so, but is back in Group 4 – and also moving up to the North – after three seasons in Group 5. When the NJSIAA added the extra group, the Bombers stayed back in Group 4 while rivals like Piscataway moved up to Group 5. They won the North 5 title three seasons ago, beating North Brunswick for the sectional title, then Williamstown in the inaugural South 5 “Regional Championship.” (Those games become group semifinals when the NJSIAA introduces Group Championships next season, in 2022.)

Sayreville and Ridge will be together in North 4, along with Montgomery, Woodbridge, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Colonia, and JFK out of the Big Central.

North Hunterdon and Cranford will follow each other from North 4 to North 3.

North Hunterdon saw a precipitous drop in enrollment, from 1,188 to 866, a fall of more than 300 students. Cranford, smaller than all but six schools in its old supersection, saw enrollment drop by 104 students.

The two will join Voorhees and Governor Livingston out of the BCC in that supersection. They will be one of the largest schools in that group.

Lateral Moves…

Another eight schools will move either north or south this year, but will stay in the same group size.

How is that possible?

In the 1990s, the NJSIAA moved away from having unbalanced sections. That is, if there were five or six more teams in North 2, Group 5 than in North 1, Group 5, that’s just the way it worked out. But as the playoffs expanded, the NJSIAA evened out all sections so that teams would be competing for postseason berths against a similar number of teams.

Geographical sections are determined by Northing numbers, a measurement of how far North or South a school is. So, if North gets overloaded, for example, with schools that saw enrollment, grow, some schools might get pushed to the South, or vice versa.

If it sounds confusing, it is.

Be that as it may, seven of the eight Big Central schools making lateral moves for 2021 are going to the South.

Perth Amboy is moving from North 5 to South 5, joining fellow BCC members South Brunswick, Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Hunterdon Central, Monroe, Hillsborough, Franklin, Edison, and North Brunswick. Fully one-third of the 30 teams in the supersection are from the Big Central.

Carteret, South Plainfield, North Plainfield and Rahway are all moving from North 3 to South 3. Previously, Somerville was the only team in that supersection, so now the Pioneers will have some company. In fact, the Ramblers, Tigers and Indians are division-mates as well, which could add some juice to those matchups.

Bernards will move from South 2 to North 2, and the Mountaineers will be all alone in the supersection. Head coach Jon Simoneau is thrilled with the move, believing he’ll be competing for a playoff spot with schools that play similar schedules.

In South 2, many teams play more difficult schedules or larger schools, putting his team at a disadvantage when it comes to qualifying for the playoffs. The numbers bear him out; in 2019, the Mountaineers were 7-1 and struggled to get a third seed in their section.

Finally, in Group 1, Dunellen and Roselle Park move from North to South. They’ll join Middlesex, Highland Park, Manville and South Hunterdon in the supersection. And their departure will leave Brearley and Dayton Regional as the only two Big Central teams in North 1.