Thursday, July 23, 2009

Week 9 Football Preview

Here's a look at this weekend's big games:

Friday

Pinkerton @ Manchester Central
These are two teams who are playing their best football as of late. Pinkerton's low point was against Salem, and Central's was their poor showing vs. Nashua North. But both squads have righted the ship. With a win, Pinkerton keeps their hopes for a home playoff game alive. Central meanwhile, is in a three-way battle for the 4th seed, and a win over the Astros will give them a very good shot at it, although they still have to play Salem week 10.

Of course the big story heading into this matchup is the absence of Pinkerton star running back Eric Guinto. As reported by the Union Leader's Marc Thaler, Guinto will be out for the next two games as a result of the concussion he suffered in the Astro's win over South last Saturday afternoon.

Pinkerton still has other backs who can handle running the ball, but certainly nobody as good as Central's Mike Cavanaugh. Of course the Little Green defense is not as good as the Astro's. With Guinto, this would have likely been an easy win for Pinkerton, but without him it could go either way.

This will be a good test for Central's sophomore QB Jared Chandler. The last time he faced a defense this good was week 3 against North, and he struggled mightily in that game, although his receivers diddrop some catchable balls. For Pinkerton, it will be interesting to see if they air it out more without Guinto. Last year whe he was injured, the Astros still had Chris George and Colby Verge to carry the ball. They don't have that kind of depth this year. They do have a very good offensive line, though.

Nashua South @ Londonderry
Another BIG game in Division I. South has very little chance at making the playoffs, since even if Central loses their last 2 games and South wins their last two games, the will still be tied at 4-4 with Central holding the tie-breaker. For Londonderry it's pretty simple, beat the Purple Panthers this Friday night, and they're in.

That will be easier said than done, however. South is finally healthy on defense, and they're very explosive on offense. When Farkas, Paradis, Haskell, Basora and McRae are clicking, they can play with anyone in the state. Londonderry on the other hand, is a more balanced team. They're balanced between offense and defense. And they also balance the run and the pass well on offense. Sean O'Gorman and Alex Lambert have both had monster games in recent weeks for the Lancers.

Should be a good ballgame in Londonderry, with a lot on the line for both teams.

Milford @ Portsmouth
This is a big game on the seacoast Friday night, and I'll be covering this one for Friday Night Lights on WGAM. Portsmouth finally has their roster healthy, and it showed as the Clippers demolished Kingswood 52-6 last weekend. Milford meanwhile, didn't rest up and pat theselves on the back after their HUGE upset of Souhegan. Last week they beat a decent Goffstown team in convincing fashion, 34-14. Both of these teams are healthy and playing very good football going into this ballgame.

These teams have very differing styles offensively. Portsmoutb likes to spread teams out and pass the ball, with quarterback Nate Jones and all-state wideout Mike Montville. Milford on the other hand, likes to run, run, run, power football up the middle. They're eld by running back Josh Ibarra, who has had monster games in each of their last two big wins.

These same two teams will almost certainly meet in the D-III semi-finals next weekend. The winner of this game will get home field advantage next week. Knowing that, will Coach Jones and Coach Murphy use their whole playbook, play their starters the whole time and risk injury, etc.? Should be interesting to see what happens.

This matchup is also a re-match of last year's D-III semi-final game in Portsmouth where the Clippers barely beat the Spartans to advance to the championship. It was a very close game though, and if not for some costly penalties and turnovers, Milford could have easily won that game.

Saturday

Bow @ Trinity
While there other games on Saturday, this one is the only marquee matchup. So there should be a good crowd on hand at Gill Stadium, or as many people you'll see for a regular season Division V contest. A couple weeks ago, Bow as riding high and sitting pretty with a 6-0 record. At that time they still had a shot at the top seed in D-V if they could win their last three games. But then they lost to Somersworth and Bishop Brady the last two weeks, and Trinity has clinched the top spot in the Division as a result. The Falcons will make the playoffs whether they beat the Pioneers Saturday or not, but they could finish anywhere from 2nd-4th, depending on what happens this weekend.

If you think you'll see a lot of passing in this showdown, think again. Both squads are big, tough hard nosed teams who like to run the ball and wear down opposing defenses. Both teams have exceptional defenses and running games. Trinity is led by halfback Connor Lyons, and Bow has a pair of bruising backs they rely on.

Which Bow team will show up on Saturday? The team that went 6-0, including a win in Pelham, or the team that lost to a bad Somersworth team and got destroyed by Bishop Brady? And is Trinity really THAT much better than everyone else in D-V? Surely, we'll get some answers this Saturday night.

30 comments:

  1. I think you meant the Clippers barely beat the SPARTANS

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  2. Roger Brown's report today says Exeter to D1 next year.Can BG be far behind? Salem,Pinkerton,BG,Exeter,South,North,Central,Londonderry.Now those would be some fun games.

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  3. Is Nashua South out of the D1 playoff hunt? The NH Sports Page said today they have no way to get in?

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  4. Well there's a chance that South, Londonderry and Central all finish in a 3-way tie for the 4th playoff spot at 4-4. The tie-breaker of course is head-to-head matchups in the three-way. And if each team does finish 4-4, then that would mean South beats Londonderry, Londonderry has already beaten Central, and Central already beat South. So South would still be in it after the first tie-breaker...

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  5. I believe that the next tie breaker after that would be road record, so if Londonderry, South, and Central end up 4-4. I believe that South would get in by virtue of their road record (not sure but I think this is the case) I don't think that Central will get by Pinkerton or Salem which would mean that the winner of South Londonderry would get in providing that South beats Memorial the next week, whew

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  6. When BG moves up, will the Nashua school board allow them to compete for the right to play on Turkey Day? One would hope, but I suspect they will keep them out regardless.

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  7. Proposed D1
    BG (up)
    South
    North
    Pinkerton
    Londonderry
    Salem
    Central
    Memorial
    Exeter (up)

    Proposed D2
    Dover
    Winny
    Spaulding
    Timberlane
    Keene
    Alvirne
    Goffstown (up)
    Soughegan (up)

    D3
    West (down two slots)
    Plymouth (up)
    Where do Pelham and Trinity go?

    Thoughts? D1 looks stacked.

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  8. You forgot Concord, although they are very forgettable.

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  9. move concord and memorial to d2,and move spaulding and keene to d3.

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  10. Proposed D1
    BG (up)
    South
    North
    Pinkerton
    Londonderry
    Salem
    Central
    Memorial
    Concord
    Exeter (up)

    Ten teams = no bye weeks

    Proposed D2
    Dover
    Winny
    Spaulding
    Timberlane
    Keene
    Alvirne
    Merrimack
    Goffstown (up)
    Soughegan (up)

    Ten teams = no bye weeks

    Concord and Memorial would never move to D2 due to their school size and the fact they are located in two "cities". Spaulding is simply too big to go D3, although they are terrible. Keene is too big as well and actually makes the playoffs on occasion...including last year.

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  11. Looks OK, although you still have 9 teams in D2...are you saying that 10 is the magic number or did you just miscount? If 10 is the number, you will probably see West move down to D2, not D3.

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  12. I like that setup as well. But did you mean to have 10 teams in D-I and just 9 teams in D-II? If you want 10 in D-II, would the 10th be Portsmouth, Milford, Plymouth or Trinity?

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  13. That's a good point, I think West will be in D-II. If West moves to D-III you could make arguments for all of the above:

    Portsmouth - former D-II school with naturally rivals and shorter transportation in D-II

    Milford - one of the stronger D-III programs and could lock step with natural rivals Soughegan and Goffstown

    Plymouth - we are dreaming, they will not jump to D-II. Not a chance.

    Trinity - probably not. If West goes D-III opening up a slot, wouldn't it make sense for Trinity to go D-III and match up with a MHT public school rival?

    Biggest Question: will the Nashua school board allow BG back in the Turkey Day mix...a la Manchester? That would be great.

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  14. Looks Good -

    Another thought, create 6 division champions and three "state champions" by taking the top four from D1, top four from D2 and playing cross-over playoff games.

    Quarters (1st Sat in Nov)
    D1#1 vs D2#4
    D1#2 vs D2#3
    D1#3 vs D2#2
    D4#4 vs D2#1

    Semis (2nd Sat in Nov)

    Finals (3rd Sat in Nov at neutral field with turf and lights)

    Play the finals along with the D3/4 and D5/6 crossover finals. 10 AM, 1 PM and 4 PM.

    Not a bad tournament. Better than we have? Thoughts?

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  15. So you leave Laconia dominating D-IV every year if Plymouth moves up?

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  16. and no more Laconia vs Plymouth games which is a big rivalry. That would be garbage.

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  17. Honestly, I've never seen a game below the D2 level and I don't care who plays in D3 or D4. No disrepsect, I just don't care to travel real far for HS sports and I live in southern NH. Unless it's played in Manchester or Nashua I don't go.

    What do people think about cross over playoffs to determine three state champions out of 6 division champions?

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  18. Guys - the way I read the post Laconia and Plymouth would be competing to determine the state champion in the crossover between D3 and D4. What's the problem with that scenario? Possibly meeting at a neutral site in front of thousands of fans to determine the best of 3 vs. 4. Doesn't appear to be a bad deal.

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  19. yeah that would be a good scenario.

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  20. BG is not moving up,only Exeter.

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  21. BG without Exeter,is like yankees with no red sox.It just seems wrong.BG should step up to d1 with Exeter.

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  22. You have bad information.
    Exeter already said they are moving up
    BG has not committed yet but they will

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  23. Actually, Exeter has said that it will play where it's placed based on enrollment, meaning that it will not petition to play anywhere. Since they would be the smallest D1 team, that won't be known until all of the other's school's petitions have been filed.

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  24. Centrals offensive line was great last night opening up holes for Centrals backs. Central and Pinkerton both have great running games. Cavanaugh and Masoli both look like they will play college ball, as well as a couple of linemen on both teams. Who is the tall receiver for CHS?

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  25. as a Pinkerton fan, obviously I was unhappy with last Friday nights result. I don't like to critique teams or player, so I try to look for tha positives as you did above. I would say that I agree with your assesment that Central's O-Line did a great job and I knew going in that Centrals D was the only one in D1 rated above Pinkerton's and the Little Green showed it. They have a very good defense. In seeing Londonderry, South, and Central. The Little Green were the best by a decent amount or they just had a great game.

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  26. Portsmouth surprised me, after a terrible first half they allowed just 2 first downs and outscored Milford 21-0. I can't understand why they can't play a decent first half?

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  27. It was definitely a tale of two halves. Portsmouth didn't dominate both halves because Milford is a good team. Milford themselves in the foot with those two fumbles on kickoff/punt returns, otherwise they might have still won.

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