Exeter first team to finish consecutive seasons ranked No. 1
Exeter High School's championship season just got a bit better. For the second year in a row, the Blue Hawks are the No. 1 team in the season's final statewide ranking of New Hampshire's top high school football teams.
Exeter, which two days ago successfully defended its NHIAA Division I championship with a 31-21 victory over Pinkerton Academy of Derry, was a unanimous selection of the eight judges voting in the New Hampshire Union Leader/WGIR/WMUR Power Poll, totaling 80 points.
Division II champion Winnacunnet of Hampton, the only team to defeat Exeter, finished second with 69 points, followed by Pinkerton with 67.
Exeter is the first team in the five-year history of the Power Poll to finish two seasons with the No. 1 ranking.
Winnacunnet had risen to No. 1 after beating Exeter at home in Week 4, 27-24, but the Warriors' 20-7 loss to Keene in Week 7 cost them the top spot. Exeter, which had entered the season ranked first and remained No. 1 until its loss to Winnacunnet, moved back into the top spot after Keene upset the Warriors and retained the ranking by winning its remaining games.
Exeter and Winnacunnet both finished the season with an 11-1 record, while Pinkerton ended the year at 10-2, both of its defeats coming at the hands of Exeter.
Rounding out the poll are No. 4 Bedford (9-2), the Division II runner-up; 5, Keene (8-3); 6, Division III champion Portsmouth (9-2); 7, Division IV champ Plymouth (12-0), the state's only unbeaten team; 8, Nashua South (6-5); 9, Souhegan of Amherst (9-2); and 10, Division III runner-up Goffstown (8-4).
Division V champion Monadnock Regional of Swanzey, Bishop Guertin of Nashua, Manchester Central, Division VI champ Franklin and Division IV runner-up Trinity of Manchester also received votes.