MONTVALE - With the first high school football game in New Jersey less than three weeks away, many feel that one of the biggest issues to address is the growing divide between public and non-public school football programs.
Saint Joseph Regional High School is a private Catholic school in Montvale and has one of the best football programs in the state. Most of the games the team plays against other schools have seen very lopsided scores. The difference in scores have been so much that other schools no longer wish to play St. Joseph's.
Similar schools are increasingly looking for challenging teams to play outside of New Jersey. St. Joseph's has a record five out-of-state games for the upcoming season, including one game in Canada.
St. Joseph's football head coach, Augie Hoffman, says all the traveling can be hard on his players.
"It's a huge challenge because at the end of the day, they're still high school kids," says Hoffman. "It gets easier as you get older, but it's definitely a struggle."
Many high school football athletes tell News 12 New Jersey that they are tired of losing to teams with more resources and with players from all around New Jersey. Many students choose to pass on playing for their local public school because they think a private program will help them get scholarships.
However, according to some college football coaches, that isn't necessarily true.
"We're evaluating the individual, specific skills, and talent we feel are necessary to play a particular position," says Monmouth University head football coach Kevin Callahan.
Callahan does admit that coming from a winning football program does help as well.