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High School Football Power Poll: Salem the state's new No. 1

Staff report
September 18. 2017 8:28PM
Salem's Matt Soldano picks up yardage during Saturday's game against Pinkerton. (Photo by Joe Marchilena)

Salem High is the new No. 1 high school football team in New Hampshire.

The unbeaten Blue Devils, after a convincing victory over Pinkerton Academy on Saturday, moved up one spot and supplanted Bedford High as the state’s top team in the weekly Union Leader Power Poll in voting announced today.

The top ranking for the Blue Devils is their first since they tied with Nashua North in 2010 preseason voting. Salem was coming off a Division I state title in 2009.

Salem (3-0) trailed early but pulled away from then-No. 4 Pinkerton, 35-20, on Saturday afternoon at steamy Grant Field. Running back Josh Sibanda rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns, and returned a kickoff for a TD, to lead the way.

Salem brings its new ranking into Plaistow for a Friday night contest at Timberlane Regional.

As hinted — simply because ranked teams played each other — Division I weekend action brought a slew of changes in the poll. The jostling for position began Friday night on the Seacoast when Goffstown won at Exeter and Bedford lost at Winnacunnet of Hampton, 20-8. Also, Londonderry edged Nashua North, 26-21, in a matchup of unbeatens.

The results when the dust cleared? Poll voters lifted Goffstown to No. 2 (from sixth) and deadlocked Bedford and Winnacunnet (formerly eighth) in a third-place tie. The Bulldogs had occupied the top spot since preseason of 2016.

Exeter fell to sixth.

Meanwhile, just in time for Mack Plaque weekend, Londonderry (3-0) jumped to eighth (from unranked), one spot ahead of nemesis Pinkerton. The two play Friday night at Memorial Field in Derry.

Division II’s top-ranked teams, Plymouth and Windham, remained fifth and seventh in the poll. Bow, which has outscored foes 125-0 in three games thus far, is 10th. The Falcons visit Plymouth on Saturday in Division II’s feature game.