SPORTS_ Pinkerton at Goffstown Football

Pinkerton Academy’s Jacob Albert, shown during the Sept. 7 game at Goffstown, contributed a rushing touchdown on Saturday against Windham.

HOW MANY Goffstown High School football fans live in Derry and its surrounding towns? We can’t answer that question, but we’re willing to bet the number went up significantly Saturday.

Entering the weekend Pinkerton Academy seemed to have no realistic path to the playoffs. It was even hard to come up with a tiebreaker scenario that would earn the Astros a postseason berth. Pinkerton needed something unexpected to happen — and it did.

Goffstown’s 29-28 upset victory over Salem on Saturday — a victory no one saw coming — not only opened the door for a route Pinkerton can take to the playoffs, it created what will probably amount to a playoff game.

Londonderry (8-0), Goffstown (6-2) and Salem (6-2) have all locked up playoff spots, so the winner of Friday night’s Pinkerton/Bedford game in Derry will likely be the fourth (and final) playoff team from the North/South bracket. We say “likely” because Bedford can still qualify if it loses, but winless Timberlane (0-8) would have to beat Goffstown for that to happen.

If Pinkerton defeats Bedford each team would be 6-3, but the Astros would win the head-to-head tiebreaker. Assuming Goffstown beats Timberlane and Pinkerton defeats Bedford, the North/South playoff pairings would look like this:

No. 4 Pinkerton at No. 1 Londonderry

No. 3 Salem at No. 2 Goffstown

There are other scenarios of course, but know this: If Pinkerton gets in, the Astros will play at Londonderry in the North/South semifinals. As we all know, a Pinkerton/Londonderry game is a pretty big deal.

For those who need a refresher, Londonderry has been the equivalent of Pinkerton’s little brother for many, many years, but the Lancers beat the Astros 42-24 in Derry earlier this season. The victory was Londonderry’s first over Pinkerton since 2001 and ended the Lancers’ 22-game losing streak against the Astros. Pinkerton beat Londonderry twice last season, including once in the playoffs when Londonderry was the No. 1 seed and Pinkerton was seeded — you guessed it — No. 4.

Although Goffstown’s win over Salem had to make Bedford fans feel more than a little uneasy, it would be a mistake to write off the Bulldogs. In fact, Bedford will win the North conference and secure the No. 2 seed if it defeats Pinkerton. Otherwise, unless Timberlane upsets Goffstown, Bedford’s season will be over.

Friday will certainly be an interesting night in Derry.

It was an eventful week for former Sacramento Kings forward Wenyen Gabriel, who played basketball at Trinity High School before moving on to Wilbraham (Mass.) & Monson Academy and the University of Kentucky.

First, Gabriel offered a public apology for a direct message on Instagram he sent to former Kentucky recruit Jaden McDaniels earlier this year that criticized Kentucky coach John Calipari. McDaniels ended up committing to the University of Washington.

Then Gabriel made his first field goal in a regular season NBA game when he hit a 3-pointer in a loss to Utah on Saturday night. Gabriel finished the game with eight points, three rebounds and three assists.

There are currently three unbeaten football teams at the FCS level: North Dakota State (8-0), Princeton (6-0) and Dartmouth (6-0). Princeton and Dartmouth will meet Nov. 9 at Yankee Stadium. For each team to be unbeaten entering that matchup Princeton will have to win at Cornell on Friday night and Dartmouth must pick up a road win at Harvard on Saturday. Princeton, which has won 16 games in a row, beat Dartmouth 14-9 last season.

Hampstead’s Lauren Thibodeau, a sophomore on the University of Louisville women’s golf team, shot a three-day total of 225 (9 over par) at the U of L Golf Club to help Louisville win the 17-team Cardinal Cup earlier this month. It was the team’s final tournament of the fall season.

Thibodeau, who won the NHGA women’s amateur last summer, had a 74.2 average in 11 rounds during the fall season.

Sticking with golf, the NHGA Stroke Play Series — the NHGA’s final event of the season — will be played today at Laconia Country Club.

As reported by Baseball America, Major League Baseball has submitted a proposal that would restructure its agreement with Minor League Baseball. The Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) between MLB and minor league teams expires at the end of the 2020 season

According to the proposal, MLB would like to reduce the number of teams at the lower levels of the minor leagues, and some Single A short-season leagues like the New York-Penn League could be eliminated. Baseball America reported that Minor League Baseball could contract by as many as 42 teams.

What, if any, changes could this mean for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and the Eastern League? Hard to say since there’s still a lot to be negotiated, but one report had two New York-Penn League teams possibly moving to the Eastern League and replacing two current Eastern League teams. Those EL teams would presumably move to another league.

It’s a situation worth monitoring.

Not sure poker meets the definition of a sport, but based on information collected by Casino Insider, New Hampshire is fifth per capita on the list of states that has produced (by birth) the most current professional poker players. The top four are Nevada, New York, Washington and New Jersey.

In other words, make sure you know everyone at the table in your Tuesday night game …rbrown@unionleader.com