New Hampshire Football Report

The State of Football: Week 4

football logoSome notes and observations about 2016 high school enrollment numbers, which were recently released by the New Hampshire Department of Education:

  • Pinkerton Academy has the state’s largest enrollment (3,1122 students) and Franklin is the smallest (371). This does not include schools that are part of a cooperative team like Moultonborough (182).
  • Winnacunnet, which has a listed enrollment of 1,083, is the smallest Division I public school. Goffstown, last year’s Division I champion, is next with 1,107. Note: Bishop Guertin has the smallest enrollment among Division I programs, but is a private school.
  • Manchester West is the largest non-Division I school (929).
  • Bow is the smallest school in Division II (587).
  • Twelve of the 20 programs in Division I have fewer than 1,500 students.
  • If you split Division I in half by enrollment, six of the 10 largest schools enter the weekend with a losing record, and three are 0-3. Three of the 10 smallest Division I schools are currently unbeaten.
  • The numbers highlight the danger of splitting the current Division III into two divisions, as some have suggested, because the programs that are struggling the most, both with on-field success and participation numbers, aren’t always the smallest schools in the division. Fall Mountain, for example, had only a junior varsity team a few years ago and is winless this season, but has one of the largest enrollments among Division III programs. Newport, on the other hand, has traditionally been one of the strongest programs among those currently in Division IIII, but has one of the smallest enrollments in the division (337). With the current 16-team setup, the struggling programs have more teams they can compete against. For what it’s worth, five small schools in Maine have dropped varsity football since the state went from three to four classes in 2013.

At any rate, with the utmost confidence … this week’s selections:

Division I
Dover 35, Spaulding 21

Always been in favor of four divisions, but if Dover continues to beat up on the big schools it may be time to rethink that position.

Exeter 35,  Winnacunnet 13

Winnacunnet usually has a hangover the week after it plays Exeter. This year that hangover came a week before.

Portsmouth 28, Alvirne 12

The Clippers can’t afford to lose this one. Not if they have intentions of making the playoffs.

Merrimack 39, Concord 14

The Tomahawks have scored 111 points in their two victories..

Central 28, Memorial 14

Running game carries Central to the victory.

Pinkerton 27, Londonderry 21

The Lancers, who have turned the ball over 18 times in three games, will be attempting to end a 17-game losing streak against Pinkerton.

Salem 20, Timberlane 19

The Blue Devils remain unbeaten, but it won’t be easy.

Bishop Guertin 36, Keene 19

Teams will have to score a lot of points to beat BG.

Nashua North 26, Nashua South 21

At least the loser of this game won’t have a long  bus ride home.

Bedford 28, Goffstown 27

It’s been a long time since Goffstown lost a football game. The state’s longest winning streak ends at 17 games.

Lebanon 28,  Hanover 20

Lebanon has won the last three games in this rivalry.

St. Thomas 22, Kennett 6

The Saints may be without quarterback Shawn Dekorne (shoulder).

Laconia 33, Pembroke 6

Winning games hasn’t been as easy for Larry McElreavy this season as it was a year ago.

Windham 42, Souhegan 7

The Jaguars are 3-0 and have outscored their opponents 140-27.

Plymouth 28, Bow 13

These are two of the six unbeaten teams remaining in Division II.

Pelham 20, Gilford/Belmont 6

The Pythons have had a hard time finding the end zone this season (12 points in three games).

John Stark 48, Kingswood 14

People are quickly learning that John Stark has a lot more than Drew McQuarrie. The Generals have allowed 20 points in three games.

Hollis/Brookline 27, Merrimack Valley 13

The Cavaliers make it three in a row.

ConVal 27, Sanborn 20

The Cougars are averaging 45 points per game. They won’t need that many to win this weekend.

Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton 22, Trinity 20

The winner of this one will be 2-2.

Milford 34, Manchester West 6

Unless the Spartans make the mistake of looking ahead to next weekend’s game against Souhegan, they should take care of business.

WInnisquam 26, Bishop Brady 20

This Bears prevail under the lights.

Campbell 38, Epping/Newmarket 6

This is a rare night game in Epping. Campbell has looked good against everybody not named Monadnock.

Somersworth 20, Raymond 12

Include the Toppers when you’re talking about potential playoff teams.

Monadnock 35, Fall Mountain 0

Four games, four shutouts for the Huskies.

Franklin 26, Farmington/Nute 14

The Golden Tornadoes have stumbled a bit since opening the season with a victory over Epping/Newmarket, but Franklin should pick up another win this weekend.

Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough 42, Mascoma 0

The Lakers have yet to be tested this season, and they probably won’t be until next weekend’s game at Monadnock.

Kearsarge 43, Newfound 13

There are more good teams than there are playoff spots in Division III North.

Stevens 26, Newport 12

The Tigers don’t lose back-to-back games often, but this could be one of those weeks.


Last week: 23-6
Record to date: 77-20

The State of Football, a commentary on New Hampshire high school football, appears each Thursday throughout the season. Follow Roger Brown on Twitter: @603SportsMedia.

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