Catholic Memorial @ Bishop Guertin - 7 PM
No one has come within 28 points of BG so far this season. Catholic Memorial is a top 10 ranked team in Mass. This is the best team the Cardinals have played since week 1 vs. Pinkerton. Will this one be a closer game? More importantly, it doesn't count in the standings, so does this game even matter? See my post further down on this blog to see how I feel about mid-season non-division games.
Winnacunnet @ Alvirne - 7 PM
This is the game I'll be covering for WGAM Friday Night Lights, and it has major playoff implications in Division II. Right now Alvirne and Timberlane are tied at 3-1for the 3rd spot. The two schools play each other the last week of the seaon in Hudson. The Owls and Broncos have the inside track to the 3rd and fourth spots, both have beaten Dover, and Winnacunnet lost to Dover. Dover is 2-3 and Winnacunnet is just 1-3 in D-II play. So clearly, Winnacunnet needs to win this game more thna Alvirne does, and you could say that if the Warriors don't win this one they are likely out of the D-II playoff race.
I've seen both of these two teams play - when they played Exeter. Alvirne's offense is all about their running game, from what I saw they rarely threw the football. They run it with both Kick Goldsack and Vincent Frasco, and run the option with quarterback Jonathan Baldwin. Winnacunnet meanwhile, has good balance on offense. They run it with Jason Busfield and Jesse Gould and throw it with QB Steve Cronan. They had success against Exeter by going shotgun, empty backfield, 5 wide receivers. Their go-to receiver is Harry Kowles.
Both teams also have very good defenses. Alvirne held Exeter scoreless in the first half, and Winnacunnet held the Blue Hawks scoreless in the second half. Should be a very good football game. And it looks like the weather in Hudson is supposed to be rainy. That would seem to favor the Broncos and their ground attack.
Kearsarge @ Bishop Brady - 7 PM
Here's another game with playoff implications. Bishop Brady is tied with Pelham at 3-2 in D-V, following their big 18-16 victory last Saturday at St. Thomas on a last second field goal. Kearsarge on the other hand is 3-3 in D-V, and currently on the outside looking in on the playoff picture. Just like Winnacunnet does, they need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. To do that they'll have to stop Eric Feehan, who had a big game at wide receiver last week in Bishop Brady's win over St. Thomas.
Timberlane @ Exeter - 1:30
A matchup of two top 10 teams, in my opinion at least. It's also a rivalry game. Exeter has other rivals, like BG and Winnacunnet. But for Timberlane this is it. This is the game they really get up for. And last year the Owls actually beat the Blue Hawks in the regular season. That got them home field in the D-II semi-finals, when Exeter got revenge and won in Plaistow...barely.
Both of these teams like to run, run and then run some more. For Timberane, it's Mr. Football candidate Derek Furey, and for Exeter the attack is led by Zach Kelleher and Jason Monroe. It might not be the most exciting game to watch, but if you want to see two good, funadamentally sound, well coached football teams check this game out. Or you can hear my play-by-play of the game on 1540 AM WXEX, or 1540wxex.com.
Milford @ Goffstown - 1:30 PM
Milford beat Souhegan 23-8 last week, so Goffstown should be no problem, right? Wrong. This will be a good football game. Both teams come in with identical 3-2 records in D-III. It would be understandable if the Spartnas have a let down after their big win last week. This game has some serious playoff implications though. Con-Val is also tied with these two teams at 3-2, so head to head games like this will go a long way to deciding the D-III playoff picture.
Brockton @ Pinkerton - 2 PM
Like the BG game, here's another mid-season non-division matchup that I don't like. Once again, see my post further down on the blog to see my feelings on the subject. Nonethless, this is a very good test for the Astros. Like others have already mentioned, Pinkerton likely has the toughest schedule of any team in the NHIAA. Games like this will help them be more prepared come playoff time. You just hope that no one gets hurt in a game that doesn't count in the standings, especially this close to the post-season.
Salem @ Nashua North - 3 PM
This weekend's biggest game is Salem vs. Nashua North no question about it. Division I's two undefeated teams, both come into this game 6-0. Salem is 4-0 in D-I contests, while North is 5-0 vs. division foes. Salem's victories have come against Dover, Londonderry, Pinkerton and South...by 2 TD's or more! Plus a win vs. Timberlane. They're beating good teams, and doing it easily. North has certainly had an easier schedule so far than Salem has, with wins over Merrimack, West, Concord and Memorial. But they also demolished Central 24-0 and beat a good South team last week 56-49 in a shootout.
These are two similar teams. Both have good balance on offense, but both do prefer to run the ball if possible. And both have good, physical defenses. Two of the top RB's in the state will be on display, as Max Jacques takes on Andre Williams. Both of these backs have recently torched South's defense for major yardage, now we see how they do against good defenses.
Salem is a slight favorite, but it could go either way and should be a great one at Stellos. The winner likely gets the top seed in the D-I playoffs, and this is possibly a preview of the Division I title game. Both Jacques and Williams have ran better this season on the faster Stellos turf, so if this matchup does happen in the title game both teams would prefer it to be at Stellos. But if Salem wins Saturday that game would likely be in Salem. Just something to keep in mind.