Roger Brown's First and 10: High school football practice begins
Head Coach Peter Colcord, during the first day of football practice at Manchester Memorial High School Wednesday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
What's changed since last year? Only the entire NHIAA landscape.
East: Exeter, Winnacunnet, Dover, Spaulding and Timberlane.
North: Concord, Manchester West, Manchester Central, Manchester Memorial and Bedford.
South: Pinkerton, Salem, Londonderry, Goffstown and Merrimack.
West: Monadnock, Con-Val, Hollis-Brookline, Sanborn and Kearsarge.
Central: Portsmouth, Pembroke, Merrimack Valley, Kingswood and St. Thomas.
Lakes: Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough, Gilford, Winnisquam, Franklin and Newfound.
West: Raymond, Epping-Newmarket, Bishop Brady and Farmington/Nute.
East: Mascoma, Newport, Fall Mountain and Stevens.
Eight teams will make the playoffs in each division (two from each conference), so the number of playoff teams (24) is the same as it was last year, when four teams qualified from each of the six divisions. The top two teams from each conference will meet in the quarterfinals. Teams will be reseeded for the semifinals based on the football point-rating system. Playoff games will be played at the home of the higher-seeded team.
Manchester West's Vance Sullivan is among the new head coaches this season. Sullivan spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at West under Jim Lauzon, who resigned to join the staff at St. Anselm College.
The 10-team Queen City Jamboree, the largest preseason event in the state, will be held at Manchester's Gill Stadium on Aug. 30. Each game will feature two 12-minute quarters.
Souhegan vs. Salem, 3:30 p.m.
West vs. Memorial, 5:30 p.m.
Goffstown vs. Concord, 6;30 p.m.
Bishop Guertin vs. Central, 7:30 p.m.
Timberlane vs. Pinkerton, 8:30 p.m.
Fall Mountain of Langdon has rejoined the varsity ranks this year after playing a junior varsity schedule last season. Fall Mountain decided to play at the JV level after its petition to drop from Division V to Division VI last season was denied.
The tradition of Saturday afternoon football is over at Pinkerton Academy in Derry. Pinkerton has added lights around its football field and, with one exception, will play its home games on Friday nights this season. Pinkerton's game against Londonderry will be played on a Saturday night (Sept. 28).
"The lights are up and running, so we'll be all set to go for our first home game on the 13th of September," Pinkerton athletic director Tim Powers said.
Because of Rosh Hashana and the prevalence of infectious mosquitoes in September, Exeter's first two games have been moved from Friday night to Saturday afternoon. Exeter will open at home against Dover, and then travel to Keene in Week 2.
Roger Brown covers high school football for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.