RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association decided to create a North Jersey Super Conference for football last winter, there were misgivings from several smaller schools in Bergen County about what the conference would look like. Mostly members of the Bergen County Scholastic league, the teams decided not to join and stayed separate.
With a total of 28 teams, conference alignment was a challenge. The North Jersey Interscholastic Conference made the bold step of breaking into four divisions, each of seven teams, so each team would play six regular-season games, and then added a unique bowl setup, where, depending on your position in the standings, you would play two cross-over bowl games against teams that finished in the same spot in other division in the conference.
This new format has led to a lot of excitement for four schools, Hasbrouck Heights, Becton, Rutherford and Pompton Lakes, as they look to become the first NJIC Bowl Champion.
But the bowl setup has other benefits as well.
Other benefits comes for the top-rated teams in the form of Power Points, as victories, and even losses, over top competition are rewarded in the NJSIAA’s Power Point system used for seeding the upcoming state playoffs.
For Becton and Heights, the game has huge ramifications for the state playoffs, as they are currently ranked second and third in North Jersey Group 1, Section 1. Becton has a three-point lead over Heights and trails Belvidere by one point. A win for either Heights or Becton will probably propel them to the top of the rankings
It also ensures that there can only be one team that can be winless on the season, as the last-place teams in each division will play each other. Winners play in the final round against each other, as do the losers in a consolation game.
Here is the schedule for this weekend’s games. All games are at 7 p.m. Friday unless otherwise noted. Winners will face off the following week, as will the losers.
First-place games: Becton at Hasbrouck Heights and Pompton Lakes at Rutherford.
Second-place games: Harrison at Waldwick and Park Ridge at Cresskill.
Third-place games: Wood-Ridge at St. Mary (Saturday) and New Milford at Glen Rock.
Fourth-place games: Garfield at Hawthorne and Saddle Brook at Emerson Borough (Saturday).
Fifth-place games: Lyndhurst at Lodi (Saturday) and Wallington at Secaucus.
Sixth-place games: Weehawken at North Arlington and Elmwood Park at Manchester Regional (Saturday).
Seventh-place games: Bogota at Ridgefield and Queen of Peace at Bogota.