UNION COUNTY, NJ — The Big Central Conference has a completely different look this season.
There are now 12 divisions, two more than last year, and they have all been realigned for the 2022 and 2023 football campaigns.
Plainfield High School, situated in North, Group 5 last year — the classifications for the 2022 season have not been disclosed by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association yet — is now in a division with North, Group 4 schools Montgomery and North Hunterdon, and North, Group 5 school Watchung Hills. That gives the Cardinals a bit of a break from playing in the division they played in last year, which also included fellow Union County North, Group 5 schools Union, Elizabeth and Westfield.
The divisions were named by numbers and letters last year, 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3, etc. BCC President Scott Miller, also gearing for his 21st season as the head coach at David Brearley High School in Kenilworth, said last week that the new names for the 12 divisions have not been finalized yet.
The BCC includes schools from Union, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren counties. There are 59 football-playing schools in the conference.
Here’s a look at the 12 division alignments for 2022 and 2023, with names for them soon to come. They are listed by size with the biggest schools at the top.
• Elizabeth, Somerville, St. Joseph’s Metuchen, Union, Westfield.
• Bridgewater–Raritan, Hillsborough, Hunterdon Central, Phillipsburg, Ridge.
• East Brunswick, Monroe, Old Bridge, Piscataway, South Brunswick.
• Edison, Franklin, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Sayreville.
• Colonia, Iselin Kennedy, Linden, Perth Amboy, Woodbridge.
• Montgomery, North Hunterdon, Plainfield, Watchung Hills.
• Cranford, Rahway, Scotch Plains–Fanwood, St. Thomas Aquinas, Summit.
• Carteret, Governor Livingston, John P. Stevens, North Plainfield, South Plainfield.
• Bernards, Bound Brook, Delaware Valley, South River, Voorhees.
• Hillside, Arthur L. Johnson, Metuchen, New Providence, Roselle.
• David Brearley, Jonathan Dayton, Highland Park, Roselle Park, Spotswood.
• Belvidere, Dunellen, Manville, Middlesex, South Hunterdon.
There are 11 five-team divisions and one four-team division. Warren Hills left the BCC and is now in the Northwest Jersey Conference.
Union County’s 17 football-playing schools are scattered in seven of the 12 divisions. Plainfield is in the lone division that has only four schools.
Football practice commences on Wednesday, Aug. 10, and the first scrimmages are allowed to take place on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
The first week of the season, Week Zero, is Friday, Aug. 26, and Saturday, Aug. 27. Three Union County schools’ seasons open that weekend, including Governor Livingston at New Providence and Scotch Plains hosting North Plainfield on Friday, Aug. 26. Both of those games will be nondivision contests.
Four Union County schools won division championships last year — three outright and one shared.
Union won Division 5A outright at 4-0, beating Westfield, Elizabeth, Plainfield and Watchung Hills.
Cranford captured Division 4 outright at 7-0, defeating Colonia, Woodbridge, North Hunterdon, Scotch Plains–Fanwood, Linden, Montgomery and Iselin Kennedy.
New Providence won Division 1A outright at 4-0, beating Brearley, Middlesex, Bound Brook and Roselle Park.
Hillside, Delaware Valley and Bernards shared the Division 2A title, each with 4-1 league marks. Bernards defeated Hillside, Hillside beat Delaware Valley and Delaware Valley defeated Bernards.