New Hampshire Football Report

Division I semifinal previews

South/East Bracket
Pinkerton vs. Salem

When and where: Saturday (1 p.m.) at Salem High School.
Team records: Third-seeded Salem is 8-2. Fourth-seeded Pinkerton is 8-2.
Regular-season result: Salem won 15-14 in Salem.
Noteworthy:  Both of these teams advanced with road victories in the quarterfinals. Salem defeated Winnacunnet, last year’s Division I champion, 33-14; and Pinkerton knocked off Londonderry 20-14. … Salem fullback Will Michaud ran for 223 yards and three touchdowns in the playoff victory against Winnacunnet. He also intercepted a pass. Michaud, who also starts at outside linebacker, leads the Blue Devils with 71 tackles (55 solo). … Outside linebacker Jake MacInnis made the big play in Pinkerton’s 20-14 triumph over Londonderry last weekend. MacInnis scored on a 72-yard interception return in the third quarter. … According to Salem historian Bernie Campbell, Pinkerton has a 31-8 record against Salem, and has won 14 of the 19 games played in Salem. … Kyle Poulin’s pass to Brandon Wall for a two-point conversion with three seconds remaining in the first half capped the scoring and was the difference when these teams met during the regular season. Wall ran for 145 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries in that victory. Poulin tossed a 33-yard TD pass to Michael Ference on fourth down before the two-point conversion. Pinkerton’s Gannon Fast ran for 127 yards and two TDs (7 and 8 yards) on 13 attempts in the loss. … Pinkerton has reached the Division I championship game in 11 of the last 14 seasons, including a loss to Winnacunnet last year. … Salem’s last appearance in a championship game came in 2009, when the Blue Devils defeated Nashua North 28-21. … Salem’s losses came against Londonderry (28-21) and Windham (31-28). The Blue Devils have held seven of their 10 opponents to 14 points or less. … In addition to the one-point loss to Salem, Pinkerton dropped a 35-21 decision to Windham. The Astros also held seven of their 10 opponents to 14 points or less.

North/West Bracket
Merrimack vs. Bedford

When and where: Saturday (1 p.m.) in Bedford.
Team records: Second-seeded Merrimack is 8-2. Top-seeded Bedford is 10-0.
Regular-season result: Bedford won 56-14 in Bedford.
Noteworthy: Bedford enters this game as the only unbeaten team in Division I and the No. 1 team in the Union Leader Power Poll. … Merrimack advanced with a 6-0 overtime victory against third-seeded Nashua North in the quarterfinals. Ben Eichman blocked a field goal attempt in overtime and then scored on a 4-yard run. … Bedford moved on by beating fourth-seeded Goffstown 41-14. Bedford quarterback Thomas Morgan passed for two touchdowns and ran for another in that victory. The Bulldogs also received two rushing touchdowns from Ryan Toscano. … Morgan had three TD passes and two TD runs in the first half when these teams met during the regular season. Bedford led 28-0 after the first quarter of that contest. … Merrimack’s only other loss came against Manchester Central (21-8). … Six of Bedford’s 10 opponents failed to score more than seven points against the Bulldogs, who have scored at least 41 points in nine of their 10 games (31 in the other). … Bedford won its only Division I title in 2016 by beating Exeter 7-0 in the championship game. Merrimack has never won a Division I title. The Tomahawks last appearance in a Division I title game was a 28-11 loss to Manchester Central in 1995.

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