The Red Zone Home Show is back for another episode as we get ready to kick off the 2020 high school football season in New Jersey!
Time to put on the uniforms.
Time to lace up the cleats.
Time, after nearly seven months of uncertainty, to play high school football again.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and New Jersey Football Coaches Association have implemented protocols for a return to play amid the coronavirus pandemic. That translates to major changes, and it also means this football season stops short of the playoffs – the traditional way of crowning champions.
So, we’re going to carry the ball across that goal line.
At the end of the season, USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey, along with presenting sponsor RWJBarnabas Health, will crown a statewide Team of the Year in each of New Jersey’s five public school groups, and we’ll crown one overall non-public school Team of the Year.
In addition, at the local level, we’ll crown several Teams of the Year, by group size, in each of the state’s leagues and conferences – the Big Central Football Conference, Shore Conference, West Jersey Football League, New Jersey Super Football Conference and North Jersey Interscholastic Conference.
We’ll present one-of-a-kind trophies to all the honorees.
How it works
High school football writers representing our Gannett New Jersey news sites, which are part of USA TODAY’s Atlantic Region, will vote on each of the state’s Teams of the Year at season’s end. The awards are intended to provide student-athletes with an opportunity to play for something meaningful during what promises to be a most challenging season.
We’ll evaluate all teams based on on-field performance, overall record and sportsmanship throughout the season.
How you can help select winners
You’ll have a say, too. We’ll provide online polls, allowing fans an opportunity to cast their own Team of the Year votes at both the statewide and local conference levels. Each fan poll will count toward one-third of the overall vote. Our local writers also get one-third of the vote and our statewide panel of writers get the other one-third.
Good luck to all!
As play resumes, we wish everyone a safe and successful season with good health and great memories.
After seven months of uncertainty, this promises to be a high school football campaign none of us will ever forget.
And some teams will have a trophy to commemorate the experience.
USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey is comprised of reporters from the Asbury Park Press, Bergen Record, Burlington County Times, Courier Post, Daily Record, Daily Journal, MyCentralJersey.com and New Jersey Herald.