Here's how I see it:
1. Bishop Guertin...Cuipa returned to the lineup for the Cardinals in their 48-0 victory vs. Alvirne. Good news for them, bad news for Exeter, especially since the health of Blue Hawks QB Carson Cross is still up in the air. See my below post titled, "Insider Injury Report" for a complete breakdown of all current injured athletes for both football and basketball.
2. Salem...They have clinched the top seed in D-I, so they have nothing to play for in their regular season finale vs. Central. The only way they won't win the D-I title will probably be if one of their key players gets injured. If I'm Salem, I don't risk that happening against the Little Green. I'd rather win the championship and have 1 loss than go undefeated in the regular season then lose in the playoffs.
3. Exeter...The BG game is finally here. If you can't make it to Stellos Stadium Saturday night, be sure to listen to its live play-by-play, by yours truly, on 1540 AM, or online at 1540wxex.com. The winner gets the top seed in D-II, as well as the top spot in my power poll for next week.
4. Nashua North...Beat Pinkerton this week, and they lock up the #2 seed in D-I. Lose and they are the #3 seed...unless Central beats Salem. If that happens we have a three-way tie for the second seed between Central, Pinkerton and North. And each squad would be 1-1 in head-to-head matchups. Bottom line is North and Pinkerton both have plenty on the line when they square off this Saturday afternoon in Derry. And there's a chance that they will face each other again in the D-I semi-finals.
5. Souhegan...After seeing this weekend's Portsmouth/Milford game, I think that either school could give the Sabres a game. That's not to say that I think they'll beat Souhegan, but the D-III playoffs should be fun to watch. The Souhegan/Milford rematch is upon is in the semi-finals this Saturday.
6. Plymouth...The health of two of their best players is uncertain going into their D-IV playoff game with Kennett this Saturday. Neither Kyle McAuliffe nor Duncan Williams played in the final three quarters of the Bobcats' win over Sanborn. McAuliffe's is certainly the bigger injury here. Before injuring his right hand, he had 3 carries for 190 yards and 3 TD's. Coach Lenehan told me after the game that McAuliffe will be fine for next week, but his hand looked very red and swollen to me. Bigger question here is does it even matter? With Laconia losing to Monadnock, will Plymouth even need McAuliffe to win D-IV?
7. Londonderry...Tough call between them, Central and Pinkerton. Guinto's injury is a big factor here. Until I know that he is back and 100%, I can't put the Astros ahead of these two teams. Both last year in the playoffs and this year we have seen how much of a difference he makes for them. Abd I can't put Central ahead of Londonderry after they lost to the Lancers just a couple weeks ago by 2 scores. Of course this weekends games between Central/Salem and Pinkerton/North will have a big impact on next week's rankings. Unfortunately for Londonderry, all they can do is just sit back and watch.
8. Manchester Central...See Londonderry
9. Pinkerton...See Londonderry
10. Winnacunnet...I think they're a good team, and they're playing well right now. I can't put them any higher than this, because although they've had some big wins last few weeks, they've beaten Alvirne, Timberlane and Merrimack, and none of those teams are playing well right now. Portsmouth and Trinity can both make very good cases for getting this spot. But I've seen them all play and I think the Warriors are better.
On the Cusp...Portsmouth and Trinity