Roger Brown's First & 10: No. 1 to face biggest challenge yet
CONCORD is the No. 1 team in the latest Union Leader/WGIR/WMUR Power Poll, but will the Crimson Tide still be there at this time next week? Concord (5-0) will face its biggest challenge to date when it meets No. 4 Pinkerton Academy (4-1) in Derry on Friday night.
Concord has won each of its five games by at least 28 points, and is averaging 50.8 points per contest. Pinkerton has won four in a row since opening with a 14-12 loss to No. 2 Bedford (5-0), which has posted four consecutive shutouts.
The top five teams in the poll, which was released Monday morning, also includes No. 3 Nashua South (5-0) and No. 5 Bishop Guertin of Nashua (4-1).
Nashua South turned in a dominant defensive effort in Friday night’s 28-6 victory over Exeter. It was the first time Exeter (3-2) hasn’t scored a touchdown in a game since a 42-0 loss to BG in the final week of the 2009 regular season. The Blue Hawks were held to two Matt Oppici field goals.
“I was more pleased with the defense than anything,” Nashua South coach Scott Knight said. “We were able to match up with them in terms of size up front, and our linebackers are pretty good. Defense kept us in it until we got our act together (offensively).”
It was the second loss in as many weeks for Exeter, which began the season No. 1 but is now at No. 7.
No. 6 Plymouth (5-0) is the highest-ranked team not from Division I. The Bobcats and No. 10 Trinity of Manchester (4-1) are the only Division II teams in the poll.
No. 8 Keene (3-2) and No. 9 Spaulding of Rochester (3-2) are the other teams in this week’s poll. Spaulding entered the poll after beating Winnacunnet of Hampton 42-29 Friday night. Winnacunnet (3-2) was No. 7 last week, but is no longer ranked.
IN ADDITION to Friday night’s Concord-Pinkerton matchup, one other game that involves two Power Poll teams will be played this weekend. No. 5 BG will clash with No. 9 Spaulding on Saturday night in Nashua.
BG has won four in a row since opening the season with a 23-22 loss to Winnacunnet. The Cardinals are currently in second place in Division I West, trailing only unbeaten Nashua South.
Spaulding’s two losses came against No. 3 Nashua South and No. 8 Keene.
Another key game this weekend will take place Friday night at Portsmouth’s Tom Daubney Field, where the Clippers (4-1) will tangle with St. Thomas Aquinas of Dover (5-0). Although neither team made the top 10, both received votes in this week’s Power Poll voting.
Portsmouth has won four in a row since suffering a 58-37 setback against Trinity. The Clippers have scored at least 35 points in each of their four victories. St. Thomas has allowed a total of 41 points this season.
It will be the first meeting between the programs in at least 40 years, and the winner will have sole possession of first place in Division II East.
IN ADDITION to St. Thomas, there are two unbeaten teams not ranked in the Power Poll: Division II Monadnock (5-0) and Division III Pelham (4-0).
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.