Friday, October 25, 2013
New Hampshire Wk. 8 football preview
By Roger Brown
It’s Week No. 8 of a nine-week regular season in New Hampshire high school football, and things have become dicey for several teams.
Some teams must win this weekend to keep their playoff hopes alive. Others will remain mathematically alive with a loss this weekend, but only by the smallest of fractions.
Here are this weekend’s pivotal games in each division:
Nashua South (7-0) at Keene (5-2): Keene may be the reason the NHIAA scraps its four-conference format in each division next season. Why? The Blackbirds could finish 7-2 and not make the playoffs, even though at least one Division I team with at least four losses will advance. Keene trails Nashua South and Bishop Guertin (5-2) in Division I West, and must win this one to maintain any realistic hopes of reaching the postseason. Nashua South could earn the overall No. 1 seed for the Division I playoffs if it finishes the regular season unbeaten.
Manchester Central (5-2) at Salem (2-5): Not much at stake for Salem, but Central must extend its winning streak to six games to set up a winner-take-all matchup with Bedford (6-1) next weekend. If Central defeats Salem, the Central-Bedford winner will play at Concord in the Division I North championship game.
Merrimack Valley (6-1) at St. Thomas (6-1): These teams are part of a three-way logjam with Portsmouth at the top of the Division II East standings, but Portsmouth holds the tiebreaker edge because it has already beaten Merrimack Valley and St. Thomas. The winner will likely meet Portsmouth in the Division II North championship game. The loser will become the longest of longshots to make the playoffs, and would need several unlikely things to happen next weekend to extend its season.
Laconia (3-4) at Kennett (3-4): Each team is under .500, but one will reach the postseason and face Plymouth (6-1) in the Division II North title game. The winner of this contest will almost certainly be that team.
Pelham (6-0) at Campbell (5-1): Pelham is the only unbeaten team in Division III, and would lock up first place in Division III South by beating Campbell. A Campbell victory could create a three-way tie for first between Pelham, Campbell and Bow. Campbell and Bow will meet next weekend.
Stevens (4-2) at Newport (5-1): Newport is at the top of the Division III West standings. Stevens is in second, tied with Mascoma. Only two of the three will advance to the postseason, and Mascoma will meet Newport next weekend.
Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough (3-3) at Winnisquam (3-3): These teams are tied for second place in Division III North. Gilford (5-2) has already secured a playoff berth and the winner of this game will likely be the second playoff team from that conference.
NHIAA WEEK 8 SCHEDULE
DIVISION I Friday Manchester Central at Salem
Exeter at Timberlane
Nashua North at Bishop Guertin
Londonderry at Manchester Memorial
Bedford at Merrimack
Goffstown at Pinkerton
Dover at Winnacunnet
Nashua South at Keene
Concord at Manchester West
Alvirne at Spaulding
DIVISION II Friday Hollis/Brookline at Con-Val
Laconia at Kennett
John Stark at Lebanon
Kearsarge at Monadnock
Plymouth at Hanover
Souhegan at Milford
Saturday Merrimack Valley at St. Thomas
Trinity at Windham
Kingswood at Sanborn
Portsmouth at Pembroke
DIVISION III Friday Epping-Newmarket at Bishop Brady
Bow at Somersworth
Pelham at Campbell
Farmington-Nute at Raymond
Saturday Gilford at Franklin
IL/Moultonborough at Winnisquam
Mascoma Valley at Newfound
Stevens at Newport
UNION LEADER/WGIR/WMUR POWER POLL 1. Concord (7-0)
2. Nashua South (7-0)
3. Bedford (6-1)
4. Pinkerton Academy (5-2)
5. Bishop Guertin (5-2)
6. Portsmouth (6-1)
7. Keene (5-2)
8. Trinity (6-1)
9. Plymouth (6-1)
10. Exeter (4-3)
Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and publishes the New Hampshire Football Report. Follow him on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.