Tide change: Concord now No.1 in poll, Exeter slips to 5th
THERE has been a change at the top.
Bishop Guertin of Nashua's 21-14 overtime victory against Exeter on Saturday night paved the way for Concord to move into the No. 1 spot in this week's Union Leader/WGIR/WMUR Power Poll, which was released Monday morning.
Exeter, the poll's No. 1 team for the first three weeks of the season, suffered its first setback to a Division I opponent since 2011, when it lost a regular-season game against Pinkerton Academy of Derry.
"We made them earn everything," Bishop Guertin coach Travis Cote said. "They had only one, what I would consider to be, big play. Other than that, we didn't give them anything other than an 8- to 10-yard run."
Concord, meanwhile, raised its record to 4-0 by beating Manchester Memorial, 69-41, Saturday afternoon. The Crimson Tide led 63-28 when running time kicked in with 8:36 left in the third quarter.
Concord's only concern coming out of that game may be the 371 yards passing it allowed. Memorial quarterback Stephen Deane completed 15 of 27 passes, three of which were good for TDs.
Concord, which received five of the poll's six first-place votes, has scored 201 points in its four games.
"Concord is, on paper, the best team in the state right now," Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said after his team's 35-14 triumph over Londonderry Saturday night.
Concord is one of three unbeaten teams in Division I. No. 2 Bedford (4-0) and No. 3 Nashua South (4-0) are the others. Bedford received this week's other first-place vote.
Pinkerton (3-1) is No. 4 in the poll, Exeter (3-1) having dropped from first to fifth. BG (3-1) moved from eighth to sixth.
Including Exeter, four teams in last week's poll lost last weekend. Trinity of Manchester dropped a 35-14 decision to Plymouth, Londonderry lost to Pinkerton, and Spaulding of Rochester suffered a 41-0 loss to Keene.
Trinity (3-1) fell from seventh to 10th, while Londonderry and Spaulding, teams that were tied for 10th last week, dropped out of the poll. Portsmouth (3-1), which was part of a three-way tie with Londonderry and Spaulding at No. 10 last week, also dropped out of the poll despite a 53-28 victory over Souhegan of Amherst. The Clippers did receive votes, but not enough to remain in the top 10.
No. 7 Winnacunnet of Hampton (3-1), No. 8 Plymouth (4-0) and No. 9 Keene (2-2) are the other teams in this week's top 10. Keene is the only new team in the poll.
BISHOP GUERTIN has won three of its first four Division I games, even though running back/receiver C.J. Boykin has yet to play a down during the regular season. Boykin suffered an elbow injury against Manchester Central during the Queen City Jamboree.
When healthy, Boykin is one of the top big-play threats in the state.
"Hoping to get him cleared a week from (today)," Cote said. "It's a dislocated elbow, and initially they thought it would be two weeks, but they found some bone chips.
"We're hoping to get him back for the last four games of the regular season. The fact that we've (started 3-1) without him is just a bonus."
THERE is one game on this weekend's schedule that involves teams that are both in this week's Power Poll: Friday night's matchup between No. 3 Nashua South and No. 5 Exeter at Nashua's Stellos Stadium.
Exeter has a 3-1 record against South since the Blue Hawks moved from Division II to Division I following the 2009 season.
Roger Brown covers high school football for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.