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While the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association remains committed to a fall season of high school sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the first change to the structure of the football season has now taken place.

The start of the New Jersey high school football season will be pushed back one week, eliminating any Week 0 games. The start of practices has been pushed back from August 3 to August 10. The first games now will not take place any earlier than Labor Day weekend (Thursday, Sept. 3 to Sunday, Sept. 6).

Steve Tober of sidelinechatter.com was the first to report the change. John Jacob, the commissioner of the New Jersey Football Coaches Association said that during the most recent football leagues and conferences meeting the NJSIAA informed them there would be no Week 0 games. NJSIAA Chief Operating Officer Colleen Maguire then confirmed the report to USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey.

Jacob did not have an exact number but said many teams were scheduled to play in Week 0. Those teams will need to either reschedule or cancel those games, according to Maguire.

From a Shore Conference perspective, the change only affects one game and two schools. Red Bank Catholic and Neptune were set to begin their season in Week 0 at Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium. It was an intriguing game with both schools having new coaches. Mike Lange replaced Frank Edgerly at RBC and former Rumson-Fair Haven head coach Shane Fallon left his position as Holmdel’s Athletic Director to become Neptune’s head coach.

The key dates of the high school football season remain subject to change. The NJSIAA and its COVID-19 Medical Task Force and COVID-19 Sports Advisory Task Force released Phase 1 guidelines for returning to play on June 19. Phase 1 will begin on July 13 and run through at least July 26. The main focus of workouts during that period will be conditioning and individual skills.

 

 

 

Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.