Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NH Notebook Football Power Rankings - Week 6

Here are this week's rankings. What kind of effect will injuries to guys like Colby Swane of Exeter and Salem's Jerickson Fedrick have on them? Keep reading to find out. The status of those 2 players may be up in the air, but Keene WR/DB Jimmy Boulay is out for the year, which really hurts the chances of a Blackbird team that was considered a D-II title contender going into the season.

Keene's loss is Spaulding's gain, as the Red Raiders beat the Blackbirds 25-17 on Friday night. Congratulations to Spaulding, as the win snapped a 29 game D-II losing streak. That program has really struggled over the last few years, so this win was HUGE for them.

Neither Keene nor Spaulding is in the NH Notebook's Week 6 Power Rankings, however. In fact, for the second straight week we have the same exact 10 teams ranked. Maybe it's the rain, but I put even more thought than usual into the rankings and analysis for this week's column. So without any further ado, here are the current top 10 football teams in the NHIAA, according to yours truly.

1) Pinkerton - For the third time this season, Pinkerton will play a game against the current #2 ranked team in the state (I know I didn't do power rankings until week 4, but if I did BG would have been #2 going into week 1 and South would have been #2 going into week 2). And on Thursday night Pinkerton travels to Exeter to take on a Blue Hawks team that is ranked #2 on here for the second straight week. We'll have to wait and see how Thursday night goes, but in their first 2 games vs. #2 ranked teams Pinkerton has won by a combined score of 72-14. And on the season they have beaten their opponents by a combined score of 211-34. Their latest victim was a struggling Londonderry team, who they beat 41-6 this past Saturday for yet another Mack Plaque trophy.

2) Exeter - The Blue Hawks are no doubt deserving of the #2 spot once again. Besides Pinkerton they're the only unbeaten team in D-I or D-II and have defeated their opponents by a combined score of 181-39. That being said, they have played a pretty soft schedule, and their leading rusher got injured this past weekend. Junior Colby Swane injured his shoulder in the 1st quarter of Exeter's 42-26 win on Friday night vs. Memorial. Fortunately for Exeter, Swane's injury isn't expected to be too serious. Whether he plays on Thursday night vs. Pinkerton is uncertain though. And the Blue Hawks are by no means a one man show, as Tyler Grant filled in for Swane by rushing for 155 yards of his own vs. Memorial. And the straight-T ground attack is made possible not only by the strong play of the backs by the offensive line with guys like Brad Tiernan and Adam Morin.

3) Nashua South - South and BG trade places in this week's rankings. Why? Well, BG lost 42-0 on Friday night vs. Catholic Memorial (MA). They deserve to drop since not only did they get blown out and played very poorly vs. CM, but they are still playing without 2 of their best players (Brody Smith and Bob Fahey). Nick Marino has also been banged up. However they do not deserve to drop more than 1 spot in the rankings. Why? Because let's face it, pretty much any NH team would have got smacked around by Catholic Memorial - their QB is going to North Carolina State, their running back is going to Boston College and they have not 1 but 2 WR's who are going to Penn State. Nashua South took care of business last weekend with a 34-13 win over Concord. They deserve to move ahead of BG. Salem however, doesn't move ahead of BG because even though they also took care of business by beating Nashua North 34-14 their star player Jerickson Fedrick left that game in the 1st quarter with a hip injury. Fedrick's injury isn't believed to be serious, but he means more to the success of his team any single player in the NHIAA. So until he is back in the lineup and running over people, I can't put Salem ahead of BG.

4) Bishop Guertin - See Nashua South.

5) Salem - See Nashua South.

6) Manchester Central - Central moves up one spot, over Hollis Brookline. Clearly though, Central and Hollis are comparable teams. They both played Souhegan in the last 2 weeks, with Central beating Souhegan 42-0 and Hollis beating Souhegan 35-0. n week 1 Hollis beat Memorial 27-19, while Salem (the #5 ranked team) beat Memorial 44-34, so Hollis definitely deserves to be in the discussion with teams like Salem and Central. Central however gets the nod over Hollis, because they play a tougher schedule week in and week out than the Cavaliers, and the Little Green have also been a better team since receiver Troy Pelletier returned from injury a couple weeks ago. If anything one could argue that Central should be ranked ahead of Salem, because even though Salem beat Central 50-28 a few weeks ago, Fedrick dominated that game for Salem while Pelletier didn't play for Central. Well, now Fedrick's status is up in the air while Pelletier is healthy and making plays. But I have Central 1 spot behind Salem, because while Fedrick is banged up, his injury isn't considered to be too serious, and the Blue Devils have another back in Abner Rodriguez who also had quite a bit of success running the ball against the Little Green defense.

7) Hollis-Brookline - See Manchester Central. One other thing I will also add on Hollis is this - many people have already started talking about Mr. Football candidates. And while some are already handing the award to Fedrick (he'd probably be my choice too as long as his injury isn't serious), one player that MUST be in the conversation is Hollis-Brookline running back Colin Pellerin. He's only played 4 games so far this season, but Pellerin has already amassed 609 rushing yards on just 64 carries (9.5 YPC), he's scored 12 offensive touchdowns and fumbled the ball zero times. Pellerin also has an 83 yard kickoff return for a TD (for a total of 13 touchdowns in just 4 games). Defensively he has intercepted 2 passes and also has 2 fumble recoveries. Hollis is undefeated on the season, they're one of the most underrated teams in the state and Pellerin is the leader of the team and one of the state's most underrated players.

8) Portsmouth - Portsmouth holds on to the #8 spot in the rankings for the second straight week. No way I can justify putting the Clippers ahead of Hollis, because even though Portsmouth beat Milford 35-14, Hollis took care of business with a 45-7 win over Pelham. Portsmouth and Hollis play each other on October 22 in Hollis - mark my words, the NH Notebook WILL be covering that game. Can't wait. Portsmouth however can't look past Goffstown who they play next week after a bye this week. I wouldn't mind seeing Goffstown/Portsmouth either, but that night I'll either be at Salem/Exeter or Kennett/Trinity. In the win over Milford I saw a Portsmouth team that continues to play good football on both sides of the ball. They were led by QB Bill Hartmann and RB/DB Bill Lane, a duo who I have brilliantly nicknamed them, '$2 Bill'(because there's 2 of them, they're both named Bill and the word bill is also a form of currency). Portsmouth again got strong play in the trenches from Rick Holt, Sean Miller and Kurtis Leonard, Jack Mackey made an impact on both sides of the ball, while Colin MacDonald, Anthony Kurylak and Kyle DiCesare give Hartmann plenty of weapons to throw to. The video highlights of the game, along with a post-game interview with '$2 Bill'

9) Dover - Ok, so both Dover and Goffstown won over the weekend. So why has Dover moved one spot ahead of Goffstown in the rankings? Well, Goffstown only beat Pembroke (winless on the season) by 11 last week. Meanwhile Bedford beat Pembroke by 28 and Milford beat them by 17. However Goffstown does deserve the spot in the rankings over those 2 teams because they beat Bedford head to head (but just barely) and the Grizzlies although they haven't had the toughest schedule they are still 4-0 on the season. Dover meanwhile is 4-0 in Division II play, and although they do have a loss that was to a Nashua South team that is MUCH better than anyone Goffstown has played. Still, Dover outside of the South game Dover has also had a pretty soft schedule. That is why they are ranked #9 despite the fact that they have not allowed a single point in any of their last 3 games. That's right, 3 shutouts in a row. The Green Wave have outscored their opponents 81-0 over the last 3 weeks. That's impressive stuff, which is part of the reason moved them up a spot ahead of Goffstown (along with Goffstown only beating Pembroke by 11). That being said, the teams Dover shut out were Winnacunnet, Spaulding and Alvirne, who have a combined record of 5-10. Most impressive was the shutout of Winnacunnet, since the Warriors just scored 42 points on Manchester West last week. Bottom line, the real test of how good Dover is comes this Friday night at Dunaway Field vs. Bishop Guertin. And yes, the NH Notebook WILL be covering that game, that is certain. Whether or not I will be a substitute teacher again at Dover High before then however is to be determined!

10) Goffstown - See Dover.

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