Ahlers

Salem’s Tommy Ahlers intercepts a ball thrown by Londonderry’s quarterback Aiden Washington, who then tackles him, during Salem’s defeat of the Lancers last Friday night. Both are likely playoff participants.

HOPEFULLY this doesn’t give you a popsicle headache ...

The NHIAA decided last week that the Football Point Rating will be used to select and seed playoff teams in all four divisions this season. That formula is typically used in Divisions II, III and IV, but was added to Division I this season because canceled games left some teams with fewer games than others.

For those who need a refresher, here’s our best attempt at explaining how the NHIAA Football Point Rating works:

Ten points are awarded for a victory and two points are awarded for each game a beaten opponent has won. So a victory over a team that’s 5-4 is worth 20 points — 10 for the win and two for each of the five games that team has won. A team’s point total is then divided by the number of games it played to determine its rating.

The NHIAA Point Rating was created to measure teams that didn’t play the same opponents during the regular season. A victory over a strong opponent is given more weight than a win against a weak opponent.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what’s at stake during the final week of the regular season:

Division I

The winner of the Portsmouth/Oyster River at Goffstown game will earn the No. 4 seed in the North/East bracket, where Winnacunnet will be seeded No. 1, Bedford will be seeded No. 2 and Exeter will be seeded No. 3. Londonderry, Bishop Guertin, Salem and Pinkerton Academy will be the four playoff teams in the South/West bracket. The only thing to be determined there is seeding. Londonderry will be the No. 1 seed unless it loses to Nashua North. Remember, conference champions will play at home even if their opponent has a higher rating.

Projected playoff pairings:

North/East

No. 4 Goffstown at No. 1 Winnacunnet

No. 3 Exeter at No. 2 Bedford

South/West

No. 4 Pinkerton at No. 1 Londonderry

No. 3 Salem at No. 2 Bishop Guertin.

Division II

Timberlane, St. Thomas, Plymouth, Lebanon, Milford, Hanover and Souhegan appear to be safely in the eight-team field. The winner of the game between Manchester West and Bow will likely earn the eighth playoff spot. If Gilford-Belmont upsets St. Thomas and Bow defeats West, Gilford-Belmont could earn the No. 8 seed. If Timberlane and Lebanon both finish unbeaten, the Owls will be the No. 1 seed.

Projected playoff pairings:

No. 8 Bow at No. 1 Timberlane

No. 7 Souhegan at No. 2 Lebanon

No. 6 Hanover at No. 3 St. Thomas

No. 5 Plymouth at No. 4 Milford

Division III

Pelham, Trinity, Campbell and Kearsarge will be the four playoff teams in this division, but the semifinal matchups are still to be determined. If Trinity and Pelham are both unbeaten after the weekend the teams could have an identical rating. Since the regular season game between those teams was canceled, Trinity would win that tiebreaker based on the quality of its road wins. If Trinity defeats Kearsarge on Friday night, those teams will meet again in the semifinals.

Projected playoff pairings:

No. 4 Kearsarge at No. 1 Trinity

No. 3 Campbell at No. 2 Pelham

Division IV

Unless unbeaten Newport is upset by Newfound (1-5), the Tigers will be seeded No. 1. The winner of Friday night’s game between Somersworth and Epping/Newmarket will be the No 2 seed, and the team that loses that game will be seeded No. 3. Fall Mountain is in the best position to earn the No. 4 seed, and can do so by beating Mascoma. If Mascoma defeats Fall Mountain, however, and Raymond beats Bishop Brady, Raymond could earn the No. 4 seed.

Projected playoff pairings:

No. 4 Fall Mountain at No. 1 Newport

No. 3 Epping/Newmarket at No. 2 Somersworth