I'm going to do this a little differently this week. I will first post what the actual Power Poll rankings are this week, as voted on by members of WGAM, the Union leader and WMUR (I'm not one of them). Then I will post how I rank the teams, along with my reasoning for why I have each team ranked where I do.
Actual Power Poll:
1. Bishop Guertin
2. Nashua North
7. Man. Central
Now, Here's how I currently have the teams ranked. And let me preface this by saying that this weekend I saw Salem vs. Central, Pinkerton vs. North, and BG vs. Exeter. I also saw Plymouth and Portsmouth last week, and Winnacunnet twice in the past month.
1) Bishop Guertin...The hyped up Exeter battle finally came, and BG showed that no one can touch them this year. Pinkerton, Catholic Memorial, Exeter. No one has even come within 28 points of them. Why is that? Check out my post lower on the page titled, "My Thoughts on the BG/Exeter Game."
2) Nashua North...I know they were playing a Pinkerton team that was without its top offensive player, Eric Guinto, but I was impressed by North on Saturday. Anyone who was there could see how big of a difference Kevin Rosenberg makes for them on defense. The kid is a beast, rushing the quarterback and stopping the run. Jamar Gathright is a beast in the Titans defensive secondary. And North has not lost a game all year when star running back and defensive back Andre Williams has been in the lineup.
3) Manchester Central...How can the voters have Salem ahead of Central, after the Little Green not only beat the Blue Devils Friday night, but they destroyed them, 45-7. Makes no sense. True, Salem has a better overall record on the season. But Central started the year 1-2, but they're a different team than they were then. Chandler is just a sophomore at QB, and it's his first year starting. He didn't even practice with the first stringers until right before the season started. Of course they would start off slow. But Chandler has improved so much over the course of the season, and so has the offensive line and the defense. Plus, Junior Brown has emerged as a budding wideout. And oh by the way, he also didn't play in the beginning of the season when they started out 1-2.
4) Exeter...This was a tough spot for me to pick. It is either Exeter or Salem. Both teams were undefeated before this weekend. Both teams had blowout losses this weekend. But Exeter lost to BG, the team that ahs been the consesnus #1 in the state all year, while Salem lost to Central, a good team but not on BG's level. Also, Exeter's QB Carson Cross was retuning to the lineup for the first time in 5 weeks, and they were without an all-state player, Dylan Ryan on the offensive line. Salem, though they didn't have as much to play for, still had all their starters healthy and playing in their loss to Central. And I'm not just basing it on this past weekend alone. Salem overall, has more quality wins than Exeter, which made it a tough call. But the two common opponents they have are Central and Timberlane. Exeter beat Central by 10 and beat Timberlane by 28, while Salem lost to Central by 38, and only beat Timberlane by one point in OT. And I know, Central was a much different team week 1 vs. Exeter than they are now, but still...
5. Salem...See Exeter
6. Souhegan...This is a much easier selection for me to make than the others. I can't put them above the top 5, but I definitely think they're better than the others below them. They showed that the loss in the regular season to Milford was indeed a fluke. They had their whole roster healthy, and so did Milford. And the Sabres won 37-0, impressive.
7. Plymouth...This was another tough pick for me. It was either Plymouth or Winnacunnet. But Kyle McAuliffe erased any doubts about the status of his injured hand with a big game in the Bobcats semi-final win over Kennett. Plus, Winnacunnet is playing good football right now, but they beat Spaulding. Can you really move a team up in the rankings after they beat Spaulding? I mean, the Warriors go into the playoffs after playing Merrimack and Spaulding, the two worst teams in Division II. Before that, they beat a Timberlane team playing without it's starting QB or top WR. I think they're a good football team. They lost to Dover earlier in the season, but they're a different team now. They impressed me when I sw tem in their win over Alvirne a few weeks ago. But let's not get carried away here. If they can beat Exeter this Saturday, well now that will be a different story.
8. Winnacunnet...See Plymouth
9. Pinkerton...They are still a top 10 team, because even though they've lost two in a row, those two losses were to Central and North, the teams I have ranked 2nd and 3rd in the state. Also, the Astros were without Guinto for both games. Guinto is expected to be back and starting for Pinkerton this weekend in Salem. Because of that, I actually would have them ranked at #7. But even though he's likely back this week I don't know if he will be back 100%. Plus, the Astros will be without their second best running back, and one of their key players on defense on Saturday. Mike Mazzola was thrown out of the game against North, and according to the information I have received, he has been suspended for one game.
10. Portsmouth...The Clippers sneak onto my ballot after a resounding win over Con-Val. Londonderry and Trinity are not far behind. But Portsmouth gets the nod for now. They can put points up with the best of them. They have two wins over playoff teams in the last couple weeks. And they are undefeated this season when their starting QB, Nate Jones is in the lineup.
On the Cusp: Londonderry, Trinity, Laconia