Written by Anthony Bellano
The silence permeating high school athletic fields and stadiums will
soon be replaced by the sounds of thousands of high school students
across the state preparing for their respective seasons as practice
begins in the middle of August.
The “Friday Night Lights” football season kicks off on Friday, Sept.
6. The regular season concludes Nov. 9 with the top eight teams in each
group qualifying for the playoffs, which commence the following week.
The quarterfinals are set for Nov. 15-16, followed by the semifinals on
Nov. 22 and 23. Following the traditional Thanksgiving rivalry games
Nov. 28-30, the championship games are scheduled for Dec. 6-7.
may be the final season without an overall state champion. After the
season, the full membership of the NJSIAA will vote on a proposal to
expand the playoffs beyond the current sectional group final.
champions are determined in five groups in four regional sections for
the public schools. The proposal calls for the playoffs to be extended
to a state title game in each group.
A proposal to change the by-laws was previously rejected in December 2011.
A state champion is already crowned among the non-public schools.
each of the other sports, teams must possess a .500 record or better by
their respective “cutoff dates” to qualify for the playoffs.
tennis has the earliest cutoff date, Sept. 25, with playoffs beginning
Oct. 2-4. The state team finals are set for Oct. 16, and the Tournament
of Champions takes place Oct. 20-23. The singles and doubles cutoff date
is Sept. 23, and the tournaments will run from Oct. 5-18.
cutoff date for boys’ and girls’ soccer is Oct. 26, with the playoffs
beginning Nov. 4 for the girls and Nov. 5 for the boys. Sectional finals
are set for Nov. 14-15, and the state tournaments are scheduled for
The cutoff date for field hockey is Oct. 23, with the
public schools playoff set to begin Oct. 28 and the non-public playoffs
commencing Nov. 2. Sectional finals are scheduled for Nov. 11-13, and
state finals are all scheduled for Nov. 16. The Tournament of Champions
is scheduled for Nov. 18-22.
The cross country sectional meets
take place Nov. 9, followed by the state championships on Nov. 16 and
the Meet of Champions on Nov. 23.
The cutoff date for gymnastics
is Oct. 29, with the team finals taking place Nov. 14. Sectionals are
set for Nov. 9, with the individual finals scheduled for Nov. 16.
cutoff date for volleyball is Oct. 23, with playoffs beginning Nov. 4.
The sectional finals are set for Nov. 14, and the state finals are set
for Nov. 16. The Tournament of Champions takes place Nov. 23-24.