action:article | category:SPORTS04 | adString:SPORTS04 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Football

November 05. 2012 10:44PM

NHIAA football power poll: Status quo at the top: Exeter, Pinkerton 1-2

Nicholas Vailas of Bedford is taken down by Jordan Miranda and Marc Roy of Merrimack on Friday in Bedford. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

Exeter or Pinkerton?

The final regular-season New Hampshire Union Leader/WGIR/WMUR Power Poll features the defending Division I state champion Blue Hawks (9-1) and the three-time dynasty king Astros (9-1) snugly sitting atop the state's football world.

But it's anyone's guess, including recently retired head coach Jack Gati (221-138 career record, four state championships), as to which team will add another state title plaque to their trophy case in two weeks.

"It's really a tossup," said Gati. "These are two sound disciplined coached teams, who have a history of being successful because they're very consistent."

For now, the pollsters have Exeter entering the post-season as the No. 1 team. All eight first place ballots went into Exeter's column, giving the Blue Hawks an 80-70 margin in total poll points over Pinkerton.

The chance of a Division I championship rematch between the Blue Hawks and Astros from Derry are strong.

Pinkerton just beat No. 3 seed Nashua South, 40-20, in the Gate City Saturday while Central, a 49-0 regular-season loser to Exeter, hasn't played well down the stretch. In the last three weeks, the Little Green lost to Division III Souhegan of Amherst, got steamrolled (42-0) by Pinkerton and beat winless Salem (50-6), which has given up 359 points this season.

"Central struggled in the first quarter against Salem last week before they got it going," said Gati. "The bottom line for me is who's been playing consistently well. To me, Exeter has been a machine. They have a great defense, can score points and their special teams have played very well all year. Central has been very inconsistent."

Last week's Nashua South-Pinkerton affair settled home field advantage for this week's semifinal game.

"I think it's important to note that both Pinkerton and Nashua South played a meaningful game last week," said Gati. "In a situation like that where you know you're going to face the same team next week in the playoffs, some coaches tend to lay back a little bit and some times that backfires on you. I didn't see it that way last week. Both teams came to play and that will carry over into this week."

Gati said both teams will make adjustments for this week's game.

"Naturally Nashua South has to figure some things out, like what schemes worked and which ones didn't in certain situations. Pinkerton will also review the film and see where they can tighten up a few things."

Nashua South's loss to Pinkerton dropped the Titans one spot to No. 6 this week in the poll. The Little Green weren't a top 10 team last week, but the pollsters vaulted them into the No. 9 spot this week.

Winnacunnet of Hampton switched places with Division II rival Bedford this week. The Warriors (9-1), who gained the top seed in their division after beating Bishop Guertin of Nashua, 28-14, are ranked third in the poll. Bedford (8-1) is No. 4 after taking care of business against Merrimack, 33-8.

Will Keene's regular-season loss to Manchester West three weeks ago come back to haunt them? Time will tell.

The Blackbirds rebounded well from that defeat, beating BG and Timberlane to close out the season as the No. 5 team in the poll with an 8-2 record. But the loss to West cost Keene a possible home playoff game and now the Blackbirds must beat the Bulldogs in Bedford to reach the final. Bedford beat Keene in the Elm City during the regular season.

Souhegan of Amherst (9-1, No. 7) and Plymouth (10-0, No. 8), who use to battle each other many times for state championships, remained stable in the poll from last week to this week.

Defending Division II state champion Bishop Guertin (5-4), which stumbled to the finish line, losing to Keene and Winnacunnet the past two weeks, is the No. 10 team in the state.

 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Former New Hampshire goalie DeSmith tells his side of arrest, dismissal from team

NH hockey team moving to Maine could be worth at least $1 million in economic activity say city officials

New owners of Claremont plan to put speedway back on track

Speedway in Claremont bought for nearly $519,000

Lebanon marathoner qualifies for US Olympic Trials

Matt Bonner talks about the end of the run, making the simple play, and playing until he's 40

Ex-UNH goalie agrees to diversion,receive counseling, avoids jail

Wildcats will face Chattanooga in prime time

New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies teaches supporters how to believe

Helmetless Football? Its the new practice at UNH


DeSmith officially dismissed from New Hampshire team, but can return to class as of Dec. 20

San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner (15), of Concord, N.H., shoots the ball against Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) during the second half at TD Garden.

Rapper Lil B gives shoutout to…Matt Bonner?

Manchester Central's Tyler Stratton watches his shot get by Spaulding High School (Rochester) goalie Derek Scott during a shootout at the 2012 Bauer Christmas Hockey Classic hosted at JFK Coliseum in Manchester.

VFW downsizing threatens Spaulding hockey due to loss of venue for Bingo fundraisers

Eagles notes: Kelly committed to current job

5 face riot charges in beating incident at football game

Ayotte rips top sports league commissioners for snubbing hearing on domestic violence

Manchester Monarchs sign Josh Gratton to AHL contract

Can football without helmets lead to fewer concussions?

Trial date set for former UNH hockey coach accused of assaulting player

Sudanese runner with NH ties hoping to crowdfund way to 2016 Olympics

Former Wildcat van Riemsdyk undergoes successful surgery


 New Hampshire Events Calendar


Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory