THE NUMBER OF NHIAA football teams remaining in the playoffs has been whittled to 12. The Division III and Division IV championship games are scheduled to kick off Saturday at 1 p.m., as are the Division I and Division II semifinals. Let’s hope nothing happens between now and then that prevents these games from taking place.
Here are some facts and figures to get you ready for this weekend’s action:
2: Games Somersworth has played this season. The Hilltoppers, who will face Newport in the Division IV championship game, didn’t get the green light to play football until the season was underway, and they received a forfeit victory over Epping in the Division IV quarterfinals. Both Somersworth games resulted in victories over Raymond, one during the regular season and the other in last weekend’s Division IV semifinals.
3: Unbeaten teams remaining in Division II. Saturday’s semifinals are Timberlane (3-3) at Souhegan (7-0), and Plymouth (6-0) at Lebanon (6-0). Plymouth and Lebanon were scheduled to meet during the regular season, but that game was canceled because of a COVID-related issue.
26: Points allowed by Lebanon this season. The Raiders have limited their last five opponents to 12 points.
40.8: The average points per game for Newport (6-1) this year. The Tigers, who will face Somersworth in the Division IV championship game, have put at least 41 points on the scoreboard in each of their six victories.
7: Victories by Goffstown, the most of any Division I school. Winnacunnet (5-1) will visit Goffstown (7-0) in one Division I semifinal, and Salem (5-1) will travel to Nashua North (5-0) for the other.
0: Number of times Goffstown running back Zach Picard has fumbled this season. Picard enters Saturday’s game against Winnacunnet with 742 yards rushing and eight rushing touchdowns on 118 carries.
12: Rushing touchdowns by Nashua North quarterback Curtis Harris-Lopez, who has gained 705 yards on 81 attempts in North’s five games. Because he’s also a standout on defense (he may be even better on that side of the ball), Harris-Lopez appears to be the strongest candidate to win this year’s Gatorade Player of the Year award.
1: Number of regular-season games Stevens won this year. The Cardinals entered the Division III playoffs with a 1-3 record, beat Laconia 22-21 in the Division III quarterfinals and advanced to the Division III championship game when Winnisquam had to forfeit last weekend’s Division III semifinal for reasons related to COVID-19. One is also the number of turnovers by the Lebanon offense this year.
68: Tackles made by Winnacunnet’s Matt Alkire. He leads the team in that category.
4: Consecutive years Salem has reached the Division I semifinals.
23: Championships won by Plymouth since the NHIAA adopted a playoff format in 1972. No other program has won more than 11 titles during that span (Pinkerton Academy has 11). The Bobcats have reached the Division II championship game in each of the last four years, and can earn a spot in this year’s Division II title game by beating Lebanon on Saturday.
5: Shutouts Pelham has recorded this season. The Pythons (7-0) have surrendered 13 points in their seven games.
552: Yards rushing by Timberlane running back Dom Pallaria, who enters Saturday’s Division II semifinal against Souhegan as the team leader in that category. Pallaria has carried the ball 89 times and also has eight rushing touchdowns.
8: Passes intercepted by the Winnacunnet defense this year. The Warriors have allowed 47 points in their five games.
56.7: Completion percentage for Stevens quarterback Owen Taylor, who has connected on 34 of 60 pass attempts for 533 yards.
31: Points scored by Newport quarterback Marius Edwards in last weekend’s semifinal victory over Fall Mountain. Edwards scored four touchdowns, kicked three PATs and ran in a pair of two-point conversions. Edwards has scored a team-high 12 rushing touchdowns this season.
45: Points allowed by Stevens in the first quarter this year. The Cardinals have been outscored 45-8 in the opening 12 minutes, so avoiding a slow start may be crucial for Stevens in its matchup against Pelham in the Division III championship game.
2009: The last time Salem appeared in the Division I championship game. Salem beat Nashua North 28-21 to win the title that year.
1,046: Passing yards for Goffstown quarterback Jarrett Henault, who has completed 54 of 96 pass attempts this season. He’s thrown 15 touchdown passes and been intercepted three times.
6: Goffstown players who have caught at least one touchdown pass: Caden Perry (7), Will Sasso (3), Jeremy Henault (2), Jonah Lopez (1), Peyton Strickland (1) and Picard (1).
63: Points scored by Souhegan in its victory over Hollis/Brookline in the Division II quarterfinals (63-34). No team scored more points in a game this season.