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The Shore Conference has released the football division alignment for the 2021 season.

After not having divisions for the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shore Conference Football Committee has created eight divisions for the 2021 season. There will be five five-team divisions and three six-team divisions. There will be a six-game regular season made up of either four or five divisional games plus one or two nondivision or nonconference games.

A six-game regular season would allow the Shore Conference to conduct a two-game postseason and potentially crown a Shore Conference champion, as was the case, albeit unofficially, for the 2020 season. They hope to have a plan for a Shore Conference postseason released by the end of January.

"The plan moving forward would be to have a Shore Conference championship, name each pod after a coach and give trophies to the winning teams," said Marlboro Athletic Director Dave Ryden. "What COVID did teach us is that we could have a Shore Conference championship and also make it that for everyone (else) those two games aren't just two added games. We want to create some excitement in those pods, give them a name and a championship trophy."

The formula for placing teams in divisions is 40 percent "wins multiplied by group size over the past three years" and 60 percent OSI, which is a team's strength rating as calculated by Gridiron NJ (gridironnewjersey.com). Because of the disjointed nature of the 2020 season where not every team the same number of regular-season games, the Shore Conference used an average of the OSI from the last two seasons.

The Shore Conference did not put more than one non-public school in each division, mainly because of the NJSIAA multiplier rule that gives public schools additional power points for playing non-public schools. There was discussion about putting all four non-public programs in one division but the Shore Conference constitution states divisions must have at least five teams in a division, which took that idea off the table.

The number and caliber of returning players for each team were not factored in because those can change after the divisions are aligned through transfers, injuries, etc.

Teams will still have the option to play on Thanksgiving. Middletown Athletic Director Rich Carroll said Middletown North and Middletown South are planning to play on Thanksgiving Day once again. The status of the other games that were still scheduled to be played on Thanksgiving pre-COVID (Manasquan-Wall, Neptune-Asbury Park, Red Bank-Long Branch) will be determined once those schools send back their intent forms indicating if those game will continue on Thanksgiving.

The Shore Conference hopes to have a complete schedule released before February.

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

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