New Hampshire Football Report

The State of Football: Week 6

football logoYou may have read this here before, but it’s worth repeating: Division I should consider tweaking it’s playoff format to increase the likelihood that the two best teams in the division meet in the championship game.

Last year a case can be made that Goffstown and Bedford were the top two teams in Division I, but they played in the semifinals instead of at UNH. This year Merrimack (4-1) and Bedford (5-0) may be the two best teams in the state.  Bedford is the only unbeaten team in the division and is No. 1 in the Power Poll. Merrimack is No. 2 in the Power Poll, and its only loss came against Bedford in Week 1.

Perhaps the easiest — and quickest — fix is to copy Division III, which uses crossover games in the quarterfinals. This year, for example, the No. 1 seed from the East/West cluster would play the No. 4 team from the North/South cluster, No. 2 from the East/West would face No. 3 from the North/South, etc. As in Division III, the point-rating system would determine the semifinal matchups.

In that scenario, at least the two best teams would have the opportunity to face each other for the championship. The current system isn’t bad, but this change would make it better.

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

Dover 34, Alvirne 14

Here’s one of the reasons Dover still has a good chance to reach the postseason: Its next three opponents have a total of three wins.

Exeter 20, Nashua North 14

Guessing that it was a spirited week of practice in Exeter.

Bishop Guertin 28, Portsmouth 27

Not sure the Clippers can go 2-0 without starting quarterback Cody Graham.

Keene 42, Spaulding 30

If you like defense we’d advise you to turn the channel.

Nashua South 35, Winnacunnet 21

Speaking of defense, it didn’t look like Winnacunnet played any last weekend.

Bedford 34, Central 21

Even if they lose a game (not likely), the Bulldogs will likely be the No. 1 seed in the North/South bracket.

Goffstown 28, Concord 7

Not sure how to explain Goffstown’s effort against Memorial last weekend.

Salem 28, Memorial 7

The Blue Devils won’t lose two in a row.

Merrimack 35, Londonderry 14

Merrimack quarterback Justin Grassini has thrown 19 TD passes this season. The state record is 35 …

Pinkerton 28, Timberlane 20

Not used to the Astros being under the .500-mark at this point in the season.

Bow 20, Kennett 14

Bow can take another big step toward securing a playoff berth with a victory. Kennett needs a win to stay in the mix.

Hanover 20, Sanborn 7

No team has been more of a surprise this year than unbeaten Hanover.

Merrimack Valley 19, Kingswood 14

MV cracks the win column.

Lebanon 21, Laconia 20

With games against Windham, Plymouth and Bow on the horizon, things are only going to get tougher for Lebanon.

Souhegan 26, West 6

West is averaging nine points per game in its five contests.

Plymouth 35, Gilford/Belmont 6

Rough first season in Division II for Gilford/Belmont. Plymouth remains on a roll.

John Stark 43, Pembroke 6

John Stark and Plymouth will both be 6-0 when they meet next weekend.

ConVal 35, Hollis/Brookline 27

Each of these teams dropped its opening game, but has won four in a row since then.

Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton 20, Pelham 12

The Redhawks could finish over .500 in their first varsity season.

Milford 20, St. Thomas 14

Tough to go against Milford because of the Saints’ uncertain situation at quarterback

Windham 41, Trinity 14

In case Windham fans are curious, Bishop Guertin (2009) is the only non-Division I team that has finished the season No. 1 in the Power Poll.


Last week: 22-7
Record to date: 124-31


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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