We are back with the Thursday Thoughts, ranking the best teams from all four divisions and looking ahead to Week 6 of the regular season.
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We will be out at one game on Friday night (we’ll be covering Hanover/Milford volleyball as well) after the cancellation of Trinity/Pelham.
Pete Tarrier will be back in his hometown with Jennifer Chick-Ruth as the Bishop Guertin Cardinals take on the defending champion Nashua North Titans.
We’ll have all the highlights plus the post-game with the entire winning team.
Week 6 Power Rankings
1. Winnacunnet- The Warriors defense made Dover very one-dimensional in a 40-6 victory, and now they face a 4-1 Portsmouth-Oyster River team that averages 267 yards rushing a game and only 77 yards through the air.
2. Londonderry- For a Windham team that struggles to score…Londonderry scored seven more points (51) last week than the Jaguars have all season (44)…this is a brutal match-up.
3. Exeter- They face Dover this weekend, and it’s a game the Green Wave has to win. The Blue Hawks defense has been overshadowed by the two teams above them, but they are only allowing 8 points per game.
4. Pinkerton Academy- I don’t see how a Nashua South defense allowing a staggering 42 points a game gets off the field against the Astros rushing attack.
5. Bishop Guertin- We get our first look at the Cardinals Friday night. Jakob Baker has been in on 21 tackles the past two weeks and has led the defense along with Chase Amarel & Rocco Geraci. Is Coach of the Year down to John Trisciani & Jimmy Lauzon?
6. Goffstown- I thought Pete made a great observation about the Grizzlies on our Sunday morning podcast. The offense is coming around, and Josh Webb is growing into the quarterback position; it’s the defense that has struggled. They’ll get right this weekend against Spaulding before a showdown with #1 Winnacunnet next weekend.
7. Bedford- Here’s the line in Division I. The Bulldogs have rolled to wins over Dover & Portsmouth but lost to Exeter & Goffstown by a combined score of 58-20. They’ll get one more major test on the 15th at Exeter.
8. Salem- Raise your hand if you had the match-up with Keene penciled in as a big game back in August?……I didn’t raise my hand either...
9. Portsmouth-Oyster River- We’ll be in Dover for their showdown with the Green Wave next Friday night, but first comes a significant test this Friday night against #1 Winnacunnet.
10. Dover- They edge out the Keene Blackbirds for the final spot. They have to prove they can compete with Exeter on Friday night. I think they can do it.
Dropped out: None
1. Lebanon- The Raiders have passed every test with flying colors. Big game last week for Cole Shambo, who was one of the best players on the field, on both sides of the ball.
2. Timberlane- Dominic Pallaria & Dan Post have combined for 847 yards on the ground as the Owls train keeps rolling along.
3. Milford- With Caden Zalenski sidelined, they have asked Logan Barnhill to carry the load, and boy has he delivered, rushing for 343 yards and seven touchdowns in the last two games.
4. Plymouth- Dylan Welch stepped up last weekend against Kennett, rushing for 117 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-14 win. They'll handle Merrimack Valley this weekend, but a showdown with St. Thomas is looming in Week 7.
5. Hanover- The Marauders have done absolutely everything right to this point of the season…now is where we find out if they are a genuine title contender. They'll face Milford at home this weekend before going at Souhegan next weekend, followed by a showdown with arch-rival and #1 Lebanon. We'll learn everything we need to know about Hanover over this 3-game stretch.
6. St. Thomas- They pound you on the ground behind the running of Tyler Leedberg (408 yards on the season) and Liam Sullivan (332). They'll handle Kingswood this weekend before their biggest game of the year against Plymouth in Week 7.
7. Bow- Their brutal stretch ends with a game against Lebanon this weekend. They will need to go 3-0 in their last three games to get in the playoffs, and that might not even be enough. I wouldn't count out this group, though…
8. Souhegan- The champs have been knocked back after losses to Milford, Bow, and Lebanon. The defense has not been able to get stops; they get a chance to bounce back against Hillsborough-Deering Hopkinton tomorrow night.
9. Manchester West- YES, MANCHESTER WEST! Icean Taylor has gone Bo Jackson Tecmo Bowl on the division during their three-game winning streak, rushing for 614 yards and 11 touchdowns.
10. Gilford-Belmont- You're always the frankest & most honest with the ones you love, so here it is…..the alma mater needs to beat Kennett at home on Saturday. To be a playoff contender, they have to beat the team they haven't been able to close out the past three seasons. This is the Golden Eagles' biggest game of the year.
Dropped out: Kennett
1. Pelham- The cancellation of the Trinity game (Trinity canceled due to Covid concerns) will have ramifications the rest of the way. If both teams finish undefeated, how do you seed them? Continued below..
2. Trinity- It also hurts Pelham, who has not had a competitive game yet and now will go into a mid-October game against Campbell next week with a team whose starters have not played into the 3rd quarter. The Pioneers were shut down for ten days and hope to get back against Stevens next weekend.
3. Monadnock- Their showdown with Trinity, won by the Pioneers 16-14, lived up to the hype. The Huskies now have a huge game this weekend against Campbell. The winner will sit at #3 in the division while the loser would face the top seed on the road in the semifinals.
4. Campbell- Campbell vs. Monadnock has been one of the best rivalries in the state for some time. There are higher profile games this weekend, but there are none bigger as far as playoff seeding.
5. Kearsarge- The Laconia showdown was one-sided from the opening kick-off. The Cougars have flown under the radar but are a Top 5 team in the division, but can they sneak in the playoffs?
Dropped out: Laconia
1. Newport- The Tigers were to travel to Raymond this weekend but the game was canceled. Meaning they will have not played in three weeks when they kick off next Saturday against undefeated Epping-Newmarket. A game we will be covering...
2. Somersworth- Fall Mountain (2-2) has not had a competitive game all season long headed into their game with the Hilltoppers. In match-ups against Newport & Epping Newmarket they were outscored 88-21. Expect Somersworth to keep their roll going this weekend.
3. Epping-Newmarket- They need to take care of business against Mascoma this weekend before they square off with the champs next Saturday. Did we mention we will be there!
4. Fall Mountain- Does the fourth and final playoff spot come down to the season finale against Mascoma?
5. Raymond- The Rams have had their last two games canceled.