Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WGAM / Telegraph Power Poll - Week 2

2 weeks are now in the books on the 2012 high school football season, and for the teams in the upper divisions the first meaningful games were just played this past weekend. But surprisingly not much has changed on my ballot for the WGAM / Telegraph Power Poll from last week to this week. My top 5 teams (Exeter, Pinkerton, Central, BG and Winnacunnet) are the exact same as they were last week, and in the same exact order. Still, there was a few minor changes to the bottom half of my ballot.

As always, I will post the actual poll, as voted on by myself as well as other staff members from WGAM and the Nashua Telegraph. Then I'll post my ballot and then why I voted that way.

WGAM "The Game"/NashuaTelegraph.com Wk 2 High School Football Poll

1. Exeter (9)
2. Pinkerton
3. Manchester Central
4. Keene
T5. Winnacunnet
T5. Bishop Guertin
7. Nashua South
8. Trinity
9. Goffstown
10. Bedford

(first place votes in parenthesis)

Others receiving votes: Souhegan (4), Concord (3), Nashua North (2), Portsmouth (1), Dover (1)

Now, here's how I voted...
1. Exeter
2. Pinkerton
3. Manchester Central
4. Bishop Guertin
5. Winnacunnet
6. Keene
7. Nashua South
8. Dover
9. Concord
10. Bedford

Now, here's why I voted that way...
1. Exeter - is there any debate here? In a battle between the 2 best teams in the state, Exeter went on the road and beat Pinkerton fair and square, 24-20. They are 2 very evenly matched teams, but Exeter is just a little bit better and they showed that on Saturday afternoon. Not only that, but the Blue Hawks were once again playing without 2 of their better players in Colby Swane and Logan Laurent. I've had Bill Ball's team in the #1 spot from the beginning, and unless they lose they're staying there.

2. Pinkerton - obviously Exeter is #1, but you still have to keep Pinkerton in the #2 spot. Anyone who was at that game on Saturday knows that they were 2 even teams and if a play here or a play there went the other way it would be the Astros with the win and the #1 ranking. Until a team from NH besides the Blue Hawks beats them, Pinkerton is the #2 team in the state.

3. Manchester Central - a solid pick for the #3 spot, the same spot the Little Green have been on my ballot all along. They took care of business on Friday night with a solid win over a good Concord team. Now they get a shot at proving they deserve a high ranking when they travel to Bill Ball Stadium to take on Exeter this Friday night (yes, I'll be at that game).

4. Bishop Guertin - they were my #4 team last week, and they took care of business on Saturday night with a 27-0 win over West in a lightning-shortened game. QB Tommy Hurley is getting better every week and these guys continue to play tough defense. They're still playing without speedster CJ Boykin, so D-II teams should watch out for when he gets back in there.

5. Winnacunnet - they were my #5 ranked team last week, and they picked up an impressive win on Friday night by going on the road and beating a tough Bedford team 13-6. It really was 13-0, but the Bulldogs got a touchdown on the last play of the game on an un-timed down with the outcome of the game already decided. Now the Warriors will get even better, as linebacker Nyles Connor returns to the lineup after sitting out the first 2 weeks with a knee injury.

6. Keene - Keene moves up 1 spot on my ballot from #7 to #6. There are a couple of reasons for this. First off, Dover lost last week and Keene won. Also, I was hesitant to rank the Blackbirds higher with the uncertainty around their QB Lucas Luopa's ankle injury. But on Friday night he definitely showed that there's nothing to worry about, by completing 10/15 passes for 124 yards and 2 TD's.

7. Nashua South - pretty easy pick here. I don't think South is quite as good as the teams in the top 6 but they're definitely better than the teams ranked below them. The Purple Panthers move up 1 spot, from #8 to #7. They beat up on Salem 43-19 to improve to 2-0, while Dover lost to fall to 0-2. Junior QB Trevor Knight has been on a tear in the first couple games for South. Outside of Riley Cote, Knight is the next best QB in D-I.

8. Dover - yes, Dover is 0-2. But c'mon now, they are still a top 10 team. I am SHOCKED that I am the only voter who had the Green Wave on by ballot. Their 2 losses were to Exeter (the undisputed best team in NH) and King Philip High. Kiong Phillip is the #11 ranked team in the entire state of Massachusetts. Yeah, fr those who don't know Mass is a much bigger state than NH, and overall has bigger kids and much more athletes. If King Philip was in NH they would be a top 3 or 4 team in the state easily. So not only did Dover play 2 EXTREMELY good football teams over these past 2 weeks, but NEITHER GAME COUNTED IN THE STANDINGS. So more than likely they tried kids out in different positions, tried different formations, pulled the starters early, etc. I was at the Exeter game and I know for a fact that 2 of the Blue Hawks TD's came after Dover took their starters out. We will get a better idea of where Dover is truly at as a team this weekend when they take on arch-rival Spaulding. Until then, they are a top 8 team in my book, no question about it.

9. Concord - I had them in the #10 spot last week, and they move up 1 spot to #9. How did they move up even though they lost you ask? Well the team they lost to was #3 ranked Central, so there's no shame in losing to them. Meanwhile they move up past Spaulding, who fell to previously un-ranked Timberlane, in a game that DID count in the standings. When Concord plays South will definitely be a game to watch, as it will likely determine the fourth and final playoff spot in D-I.

10. Bedford - I had Bedford right on the cusp of the top 10 last week, but had Concord ranked ahead of them. That remains the case, but the Bulldogs now sit at the #10 spot. Once again, it's because Spaulding fell out of the top 10 with their loss at home to Timberlane. And even though Bedford also lost last weekend, they lost to #5 ranked Winnacunnet and they gave the Warriors a very competitive game.


Photo credit: Winnacunnet Football

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