Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NH Notebook Football Power Rankings - Week 7

Not a whole lot has happened since last week to justify me changing things around too much with the rankings, and as a result they're pretty similar to last week's. But their were some minor changes, and some big games coming up this weekend that will affect next week's rankings.

I thought about including Trinity in the rankings as well this week, but then I found out that TE/DL Andrew Lauderdale will miss the next 4 weeks with a fractured foot. That's a tough loss for the Pioneers. I wouldn't be surprised if Kennett (with star running back Nick Massa) is able to pull the upset and beat Trinity this Friday night at Gill Stadium. So Trinity just misses the rankings. Who made it? Keep reading...

1) Pinkerton - Once again the hands down best team in the state. Emmitt Smith ran for 288 yards and 3 TD's on just 8 carries vs. Exeter, while Kevin davies ran for 120 yards and 2 TD's on just 9 carries while also making a number of tackles on defense. Both players have to be on the short list for the 2011 NH Mr. Football Award, along with Salem's Jerickson Fedrick and Armond McRae of South. Right now it's those 4 guys and then everybody else. This Saturday afternoon when Brockton High (MA) rolls into Derry the Astros will play against the one team on their schedule that might actually give them a game. Even still, you'd have to consider Pinkerton the favorite even against a Brockton team that is annually one of the top teams in the entire state of Massachusetts.

2) Nashua South - South, BG, Exeter and Salem can all make a case for the #2 spot. I have South and BG ranked first because those are the 2 teams who gave Pinkerton the best game. South was only down a touchdown at halftime and it could have maybe been a close game down the stretch if they didn't have 3 of their best players (Derek Paradis, Julier Rivera and Trevor Knight) suffer injuries. All 3 of them returned the following week and have been healthy ever since. Meanwhile, play maker Armond McRae solidified his status as a Mr. Football candidate by rushing for 116 yards and 2 TD's on just 6 carries and also making a TD catch and running in a kickoff return TD on Thursday night in the Purple Panthers' 47-0 win over North. The only other team to beat North that bad this season was Pinkerton, who won by the same 47-0 score. That's further proof that South deserves the #2 spot. The last 3 games of the season for Coach Knight's team are against Salem, Exeter and Central however, so those games will tell us if they stay in the #2 spot.

3) Bishop Guertin - BG is next because they actually took Pinkerton down to the wire before losing. Although the Astros turned it over 3 times in the red zone so it could have been much more lopsided, the fact is those turnovers had just as much to do with the BG defense making plays as Pinkerton's offense not executing well enough. Each week Guertin continues to get healthier. In the last few weeks Bob Fahey, CJ Boykin, Blake Boudreau and Nick Marino have all returned from injury. They're playing some good ball right now, and they are still playing without WR/DB Brody Smith (possibly their best player). Once Smith comes back watch out, they could easily move up to #2 on this list.

4) Salem - Exeter and Salem are pretty close. Neither team gave Pinkerton much of a game at all, and the only other common opponent they have is Memorial and both teams beat the Crusaders by 2 scores. I give Salem the nod for now, just barely. Why? Well, both teams looked pretty bad vs. Pinkerton. But Salem's best win (a 50-28 win over Central) is much better than any win Exeter has. Plus one of Exeter's better players (Colby Swane) is currently injured and missed last week's game vs. Pinkerton. Salem had an injury of their own a couple week's ago (ever heard of Jerickson Fedrick?) but Fedrick proved he was completely healthy last week by running for 374 yards and 5 TD vs. North. We will see for sure which team is better when the Blue Devils take on the Blue Hawks on Friday night. Yes, the NH Notebook WILL be at that game!

5) Exeter - See Salem.

6) Manchester Central - Central is once again ranked right where they should be. A couple spots behind a Salem team they lost by 3 TD's to, a couple spots ahead of a Portsmouth team they barely beat and 1 spot ahead of a Hollis team because they beat Souhegan 42-0 whereas Hollis beat Souhegan 35-0, 1 TD less. We'll get a better idea of how good the Little Green really are when they end the season with games vs. Exeter, Pinkerton and South.

7) Hollis-Brookline - The Cavs are a spot ahead of Portsmouth because even though they're both undefeated in D-III, Hollis beat Souhegan 35-0 while Portsmouth only beat the Sabers 22-15. And yes, Portsmouth could have beaten Souhegan by more if they didn't turn the ball over so much, but the fact is they DID make those turnovers and Hollis didn't. 2 Big games in D-III are on tap for this weekend when Hollis plays at Bedford on Saturday afternoon (the NH Notebook WILL be there) and Portsmouth plays host to Goffstown on Friday night. We'll get a MUCH better idea of how good all 4 of these teams are after this weekend.

8) Portsmouth - See Hollis-Brookline.

9) Dover - They lost 21-6 last weekend, but they don;t deserve to fall in the rankings. Why? Because the team they lost to is #3 ranked BG and Dover was right in that game the whole way. The Green Wave do have one of the top defenses in the state, but boy did their offense struggle on Friday night vs. Guertin. Part of it was due to the outstanding defense BG played, but some of it was due to a lack of speed and offensive execution by Dover. If they don't get their offense on track they could lose to Keene and/or Timberlane, and if that happens then yes, they will move down in the rankings.

10) Goffstown - They had a bye last week, so they definitely don't deserve to move down in the rankings. Bedford deserves to be ranked because of their blowout win over Milford last weekend (they beat Milford 49-6 whereas Portsmouth only beat Milford 35-14). However Goffstown actually beat Bedford earlier in the year 17-15, so the Grizzlies deserve to be ranked ahead of Bedford.

11) Bedford - The Bulldogs have come on strong lately, as it's now a 4 team race in D-III with those 4 teams (Hollis, Portsmouth, Goffstown and Bedford) really separating themselves from the rest of the division with some blowout wins over teams like Milford and Souhegan. Bedford had 2 early season losses to Timberlane and Goffstown, but keep in mind that for the first few games of the season star running back Jordan Garron was either out of the lineup or was playing injured. He's healthy now, so now Bedford has a good balance with their running game (Garron) and passing game (with QB James Caparell).

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