The State of Football: Week 1
The opening week of the high school football season is upon us. The Week 1 schedule features a mix of league games (Divisions IV, V and VI) and non-league contests (Divisions I, II and III).
The non-league games will be eliminated next season, when NHIAA football shrinks from six divisions to three. We've been critical of the non-league games in the past, primarily because they counted for nothing in the standings. They made it seem like the regular season didn't start until a week after it really did.
That said, there is one non-league game we'll miss: Pinkerton Academy vs. Brockton. Although the game didn't help or hurt the Astros in the Division I standings, it was a matchup between two of the top programs in New England.
The Pinkerton-Brockton game was really New Hampshire vs. Massachusetts, and even Londonderry residents -- some of them anyway -- pulled for the Astros when they met the Boxers. As one Division I assistant coach said before last year's game, "This is the only time I ever root for Pinkerton."
At any rate, with the utmost confidence ... this week's selections:
John Stark 13
Division IV is gonna be one tough league this season.
Kingswood coach Chip Skelly will tell you that his team should be competing in Division V.
Not sure how things are going to play out in Division VI this season.
Stevens program is still dealing with the loss of assistant coach Aaron Robar.
From a competitive standpoint, the Pythons are back where they belong.
Since you asked, Concord is my darkhorse in Division I.
These teams will be in the same division and the same conference a year from now. Lots of speed in that Exeter backfield.
Division III Clippers nearly knocked off Central in their opener last year. This year they get the best of a Division I opponent.
Owls will likely be missing some key pieces because of injuries.
Division III strikes again.
Nashua North 20
Broncos are in Division III this season, but will be grouped with North, South, BG and Keene in Division I next year.
Been touting the Blackbirds in the preseason, and will continue to do so -- until they lose.
Bulldogs get off to a good start in Division II.
Manchester West 14
Merrimack Valley 13
Could make a case for either team.
Tomahawks spoil Ryan McCartney's debut as Con-Val's head coach.
Nashua South 21
Red Raiders have started the season with a new head coach in each of the past four years.
Wonder what Mike Beliveau's philosophy is on going for two late in a game? He'd be wise to share that philosphy with his staff before kickoff.
St. Thomas 21
Gonna be at this game Saturday, so hoping some of those fine Kennett fans will bring me some peanut butter fudge from Zeb's.
Another Division IV game that's tough to call.
It's still tough to beat the Bobcats at home.
Bishop Brady 16
Bears certainly know how to win on the road.
If you're in the neighborhood, this one might be worth checking out.
The Brad Archer era gets off to a good start.
Gotta believe Franklin will be in the hunt for a playoff berth again this year.
Gotta believe Kearsarge will be in the hunt for a playoff berth this year as well.
Toppers have too much offense for the Blue Devils.
Bishop Guertin 13
Undoubtedly the marquee game on this week's menu.
2011 record: 227-55
The State of Football appears each Friday throughout the high school season.