Plymouth is #5 on Pete's ballot and faces Portsmouth Saturday
UNION LEADER/WGIR/WMUR FOOTBALL POWER POLL The top 10 high school football teams in New Hampshire, as voted by the staffs of the New Hampshire Union Leader, WGIR AM and FM, and WMUR-TV after Week 6 of the 2013 NHIAA season, with first-place votes/points in parentheses:
1. Concord, 6-0 (6/60)
2. Bedford, 6-0 (54)
3. Nashua South, 6-0 (48)
4. Pinkerton, 4-2 (39)
5. Bishop Guertin, 5-1 (38)
6. Plymouth, 6-0 (26)
7. Exeter, 4-2 (25)
8. Keene, 4-2 (20)
9. Trinity, 5-1 (14)
10. Portsmouth, 5-1 (6)
Here's how I voted...
1. Concord...after a thrilling comeback and an overtime win at Pinkerton, I feel vindicated for touting the Tide all season long as the team to beat in D1...at least until Friday night when Concord hosts #2 Bedford in the battle that will likely determine home field advantage throughout the playoffs. We'll have the NH Sports Page video camera at Memorial Field to bring you our "Game of the Week" coverage.
2. Bedford...the Bulldogs finally gave up some points to end a 4 game shutout streak, but they still dominated high scoring Manchester Memorial to improve to 6-0 and keep pace with Concord. Bedford very well could be the best team in the state despite their current 2nd place ranking on my ballot and in the Power Poll overall. We'll find out who's best for sure on Friday night!
3. Nashua South...the Purple Panthers also have the right to say they may also be worthy of the #1 position. But they have more pressing issues to deal with as old rival Bishop Guertin is next on the schedule in a key D1 West matchup Friday night in Nashua. The winner of this one has the inside track on the #1 seed and home field advantage in the playoffs, which ironically, really means nothing if they square off in the conference Championship game because both teams call Stellos Stadium home.
4. Pinkerton...the Astros were the better team for all but about the final 2 minutes of regulation and the 8 plays in OT last Friday night as Concord rallied for an improbable 21-14 come from behind win. I was especially impressed by the big guys on the lines for Pinkerton who opened running lanes for Manny Latimore and company on offense and put some serious pressure on Tide QB Robbie Law on defense.
5. Plymouth...can't wait til Saturday to see how the Bobcats handle the high octane, fast break offense of Portsmouth. Plymouth had no problems containing Trinity who chose a run heavy game plan against the Bobcats rather than spread the field and attack thru the air like they did to an injury depleted Portsmouth defense in Week 1. The wild card in this one is how well the Plymouth D can keep Clippers QB Donovan Phanor's run/pass option game in check.
6. BG...the Cards finally got CJ Boykin back for their Week 6 game against Spaulding, and he showed people what they've been missing with not 1, but 2 kick return TDs in their 5th consecutive win. Now BG takes on crosstown rival Nashua South for the 1st time since Thanksgiving Day 2003. And unlike those annual Turkey Bowl meetings, this one actually counts for more than just city bragging rights.
7. Exeter...the Blue Hawks got back on the winning track with a dominating performance against Alvirne to stop a 2 game losing streak that saw them fall from the #1 spot all the way down to 7th in the poll. The schedule lightens up down the stretch compared to what it was in the middle of the season for Exeter so I fully expect Bill Ball's team to finish the regular season 1st in their league.
8. Keene...unfortunately for Keene, they're the 3rd best team in a top heavy conference where only 2 teams make the playoffs, so it's likely the Blackbirds will miss the postseason in this 1 year realignment experiment. Their only hope at this point is to win out against Dover, South and Alvirne and hope somebody else upsets Nashua South or that BG loses to South and another team down the stretch.
9. Trinity...they got all they could handle from Souhegan on Saturday night, but they were playing without starting QB Carmen Giampetruzzi who sat out with an illness. Austin Chambers stepped in under center and the Pioneers kept it entirely on the ground with Brad Rhoades leading the way in a 26-13 win.
10. Portsmouth...the Clips answered the challenge from Seacoast neighbor St. Thomas, turning an early 14 nothing deficit into a 49-28 runaway win. Portsmouth won't want to fall behind this week as they make the trek to the Land of Lenahan for an intriguing game against Plymouth on Saturday. I'm VERY much looking forward to being there for this one!