Here's how I see it, as we head down the home stretch of the regular season.
1. Bishop Guertin...They get to pick on someone their owns size this Friday night, when Catholic Memorial (MA) come to Stellos. Should be a good tune-up for the Exeter game in a couple weeks.
2. Salem...They had a close call against Timberlane, the same Timberlane that BG ran off the field just a couple weeks ago. Is there really that big of a gap between BG and everyone else? For comparison's sake, it should be interesting to see how Exeter does against Timberlane this Saturday, since the Blue Hawks are the one NHIAA team BG will play the rest of the season that can beat them.
3. Exeter...Keene actually gave them a pretty good game, until early in the fourth quarter. But once again, a Blue Hawk opponent committed turnovers, pentalities and had multiple chances in the red zone where they came away with zero points. Exeter did it without their top two QB's, and other key players were out due to illness. Carson Cross is expected to be out of the lineup once again this week vs. Timberlane, and possibly longer than that with Mono. They'll need him, and the rest of the team to be healthy to have a shot at beating BG.
4. Nashua North...For the past few weeks I've had them ranked lower than most. Because even though they were undefeated, they hadn't really beaten anyone good. Their best win was against Central, and I saw that game and the Little Green looked horrible. But beating South is a different story. Sure, the Purple Panther defense isn't 100% health-wise they are still a very good squad. The game of the week this week is North vs. Salem, Divison I's two unbeaten's. The top seed in the D-I playoffs is likely on the line. What is amazing to me is that North is doing all of this without possibly their best player, Kevin Rosenberg. Imagine if they had him this whole time!
5. Pinkerton...Yes, they have two losses, but those losses are to BG and Salem, the consensus top 2 teams in the state. They showed why their one of the top teams around without blowout wins over Concord and a good Londonderry team.
6. Nashua South...This is the best 3-3 team I've ever seen in NH. They ran into 3 good teams over the last 3 week, and this came at a time when they were going through injury problems, most notably to Demitri Venetos. This offense can put points up with anyone in the state, and when the defense gets healthy watch out.
7. Plymouth...They only beat Laconia by 6, but a win's a win. And Laconia is a good team. Congrats to Plymouth, the streak is at 50.
8. Souhegan...How far should they drop after losing to a 2-3 Milford team Friday night? Tough to tell. Even the great teams sometimes have one slip-up during the season. The loss will get the Sabres mad again, and keep them from getting complacent. And even though Petropulos and Jellison did play vs. the Spartans, they were missing 3 key lineman. Not making excuses for the loss, just justifying why I'm ranking them where I am.
9. Timberlane...They solidified their spot in the top 10 by pushing the state's 2nd best team, Salem to brink Friday night in a 35-34 heartbreaker. Furey and Jacques both put on a show, and both players are two of the frontrunners for the 2009 Mr. Football award. Timberlane has now BARELY lost to Salem and South, they got blown out against BG but everyone has so far, and they've beaten Dover, Keene and Merrimack. This Saturday is a measuring stick game at Exeter. They beat the Blue Hawks in the regular season last year. With Carson Cross likely out once again, can they make it two years in a row?
10. Alvirne...I wasn't buying them as a top 10 team before this weekend, but winning at Dover is a quality win. Couple that with them making the 2 and a half hour drive to Keene and not only beating the Blackbirds, but beating them 34-7 and they're in. Only losses are vs. Exeter and a last minute loss to Central.
Teams who are on the cusp: Londonderry, Central, Dover, Winnacunnet and Trinity