New Hampshire Football Report

The State of Football: Week 8

When the NHIAA playoffs arrive in two weeks, we will have a menu that consists of four games in each of the three divisions. Those 12 games are all scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.

Why no Friday night games? Good question, especially since so many teams that will be at home for the quarterfinals play on fields that have lights.

The NHIAA typically allows the time of a playoff game to change, but has been reluctant to change the date. Perhaps there’s a good reason for this, or perhaps it’s time to examine — and possibly change — that policy.

Based on recent conversations, it’s clear that  many high school head coaches would prefer to play on Friday night if possible — at least in the quarterfinals. Some suggested teams that play at home on Friday night during the regular season should also do so in the playoffs. Others would like to see Division I playoff games held on Friday night so that the spotlight could shift to Division II and Division III games on Saturday. Of the 20 teams in Division I, Goffstown is the only school without lights.

Friday night games would likely draw larger crowds (more money for the NHIAA) and would give fans the opportunity to see more than one game on a weekend. There was always a lot of moaning and groaning (here and elsewhere) when the state’s championship games were played on the same day at the same time, eliminating the chance to see more than one game. That problem was solved when the title games were moved to UNH.

Sundays are for the pros and Saturdays are for the colleges, so, whenever possible, the high schools should take full advantage of Friday nights.

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

Keene 32, Alvirne 14

Offense hasn’t been a problem for the Blackbirds this season.

Bedford 35, Concord 7

The Bulldogs will play Salem next weekend. Bedford may face Salem the weekend after that as well.

Winnacunnet 28, Dover 20

Expecting the Warriors will come to play this weekend. That plus other factors point to a possible upset.

Exeter 35, BG 14

Bad matchup for the Cardinals, who have been less-than-stellar at defending the run.

Londonderry 27, Memorial 7

Memorial is still fighting for a spot in Manchester’s Thanksgiving Day game.

Pinkerton 21, Central 20

The last time the Astros finished a season below .500? It was 2002, when Pinkerton was 4-4 against New Hampshire competition and 4-6 overall. (4-6).

 Nashua South 28, Portsmouth 26

This is a must-win game for the Clippers. South is guaranteed a playoff spot if it wins here and beats Dover next weekend.

Nashua North 48, Spaulding 13

Next weekend’s North/BG game will likely determine which team wins Division I West.

Merrimack 39, Timberlane 14

Merrimack quarterback Justin Grassini needs six touchdown passes to break the state record for TD passes in a season.

Goffstown 17, Salem 14

Hearing that Salem is afraid to play Windham on Thanksgiving.

Hanover 26, Kennett 7

The Marauders haven’t allowed more than nine points in a game since Week 2.

Laconia 28, Trinity 6

The Pioneers have been outscored 152-30 in their last three games.

Merrimack Valley 26, Gilford-Belmont 20

Merrimack Valley has a chance to finish its season with back-to-back victories.

Milford 28, Sanborn 13

Milford will likely have to win here, and beat Plymouth next week to extend its season.

Kingswood 26, Pembroke 20

The Knights collect their first victory.

Plymouth 34, Lebanon 20

Fullback Garrett Macomber has run for at least 200 yards in every game Plymouth has played this season.

St. Thomas 28, ConVal 21

ConVal’s six wins are a school record, but what the Cougars really need is victory No. 7.

Windham 49, West 6

Hearing that Windham is afraid to play Salem on Thanksgiving.

Souhegan 28, Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton 27

The Sabers are still seeking their first road win.

Hollis/Brookline 35, Pelham 6

The Cavaliers (5-2) are another team that may have to reach seven victories to reach the postseason.

John Stark 34, Bow 19

If the Generals finish 9-0, they could pass Windham and earn the No. 1 overall seed in Division II.

Somersworth 29, Farmington-Nute 7

One glance at the Division III standings will tell you how important this game is for Somersworth.

Stevens 42, Fall Mountain 14

The Cardinals regain some momentum.

Kearsarge 34, Mascoma 12

The Cougars need to win their next two, and hope everything else breaks their way.

Monadnock 36, Newport 14

Wonder how the Huskies would have fared if they had remained in Division II this season?

Franklin 36, Raymond 8

Raymond has been held under 10 points in four of its six games.

Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough 42, Newfound 12

Monadnock is the only team that tested the Lakers this season.

Winnisquam 22, Campbell 20

The outcome of this game will likely end up determining the No. 2 seed in Division III South.

Bishop Brady 35, Epping/Newmarket 20

The Green Giants have a chance to secure the top seed in Division III South.


Last week: 26-3.
Record to date: 169-36.

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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