Roger Brown's H.S. Football: Here's where we stand in all divisionsBy ROGER BROWN
New Hampshire Union Leader
October 20. 2017 12:35AM
The calendar shows it’s the third week of October, which means there’s very little time left in the NHIAA football regular season. There remains a lot to be determined, however. Here’s how things stand with two weeks to go, and what’s still at stake:
North/East: Winnacunnet (7-0) and Goffstown (6-1) have clinched two of the four playoff berths in this bracket. Winnacunnet of Hampton can secure the No. 1 overall seed by beating Manchester Central tonight or with a victory over Spaulding of Rochester next weekend. Exeter (5-2) will qualify if it wins at Manchester Memorial tonight or at Concord next weekend. Either Central (5-2) or Bedford (4-3) will earn the fourth playoff berth in this bracket.
The Little Green can clinch a postseason berth with a victory over Winnacunnet tonight coupled with a Bedford loss to Dover tomorrow. Otherwise, next Friday’s Central/Bedford contest shapes up as an early playoff game.
South/West: Salem (7-0), Pinkerton Academy of Derry (6-1) and Londonderry (6-1) have qualified. Nashua South (5-2) will win the West Conference title if it defeats Londonderry tonight. Barring any surprises, the quarterfinal-round matchups will look like this: Londonderry at Salem, and Pinkerton at South.
Pinkerton will be on the road even if it has a better record than South because conference champions are at home for the quarterfinals.
North: Plymouth (6-0) and Hanover (6-0) are the only unbeaten teams in the North and are battling for the conference championship. Plymouth will likely win the conference if both finish unbeaten based on NHIAA football point ratings. Bow (5-1) and John Stark of Weare (5-1) are in good shape to reach the postseason, but one of those teams will have a second loss Saturday when the Falcons and Generals meet in Bow. That contest may have added importance for John Stark, since the Generals still have to play unbeaten Hanover next weekend and back-to-back losses might knock the Generals out of the top eight.
Bow will finish the regular season against Lebanon (1-5). One more win will be enough for the Falcons to advance. Kennett of Conway (3-3) could also make things interesting if it can upset Hanover tonight. Kennett will face winless Kingswood of Wolfeboro next weekend and the Eagles would have a chance to qualify at 5-3.
South: Windham (6-0) is the lone unbeaten team in the South and has the inside track to win the conference championship. St. Thomas (6-1) and Hollis/Brookline (5-1) are also in good position, although Hollis/Brookline still has to play Pelham (3-3) and Souhegan of Amherst (4-2). Pelham would join the conversation if it upsets Hollis/Brookline at home tonight. Souhegan and ConVal of Peterborough (4-2) are the other teams still in the picture. A playoff berth could be on the line for at least one team when Souhegan plays at Hollis/Brookline next weekend.
ConVal has dropped back-to-back games after a 4-0 start and the Cougars have a tough road ahead with remaining games against St. Thomas and Windham. They’ll need to knock off at least one of those two teams to extend their season.
North: Monadnock (6-0) and Newport (6-0) will meet in Swanzey tonight to determine the North champion. The Monadnock/Newport winner will also be the division’s No. 1 overall seed, assuming that team finishes the regular season unbeaten.
Stevens of Claremont (4-2) is the only other team in the North above the .500 mark. The Cardinals appear safe, but can erase all doubt by beating Fall Mountain of Langdon (1-5) on Saturday. The winner of next weekend’s game between Kearsarge (3-3) and Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough (2-4) will likely get in as well, assuming I-L/M wins at Newfound of Bristol tomorrow.
South: Campbell of Litchfield (6-0), Somersworth (5-1), Epping/Newmarket (4-2) and Bishop Brady of Concord (4-2) are the playoff contenders from this conference.
Campbell will win the conference championship if it wins tomorrow against Winnisquam (1-5) in Tilton. Somersworth has also clinched a playoff berth and is playing for seeding.
The winner of Saturday’s game between Epping/Newmarket (4-2) and Bishop Brady (4-2) will also earn a postseason berth. The team that loses that game may want to sharpen its math skills, since Division III is awarding six wild card berths regardless of division (plus the two conference champions) this year, rather than handing out four postseason spots to each conference, as was the case last season.