Roger Brown's First & 10: Bedford jumps into tie for 2nd in Power Poll
Despite a sloppy performance at Keene on Saturday night, Exeter maintained its position at the top of this week's Union Leader/WGIR/WMUR Power Poll.
The Blue Hawks turned the ball over twice and were penalized six times for 50 yards in their 13-3 victory. It was a 7-3 game until halfback Ryan Kelly scored on an 11-yard run with 6:27 to play.
Exeter, which held Keene to 66 yards rushing on 27 attempts, raised its record to 2-0 and received all six first-place votes.
It was Exeter's lowest point total since a 42-13 loss to Salem in 2010. The two turnovers (one interception) were uncharacteristic for an Exeter team, which turned the ball over four times in 12 games en route to last year’s Division I championship.
Keene stayed in the poll's seventh spot despite the loss.
The 10 teams in this week's poll remained unchanged from last week. The only movement came from Concord, which moved into a tie with Bedford for the No. 2 spot following a 52-13 victory over Salem. Concord was the No. 3 team last week.
Bedford, the No. 2 team in last week’s poll, beat Manchester West 61-0 Friday afternoon.
Nashua South beat Alvirne of Hudson 35-0 without quarterback Trevor Knight and is at No. 4. Knight said he is expected to miss at least one more week with a thumb injury.
Pinkerton Academy rebounded from an opening-week loss to Bedford by beating Manchester Central 37-20 and rounds out the poll's top five.
Winnacunnet of Hampton, Keene, Trinity of Manchester, Londonderry and Plymouth are in the Nos. 6 through 10 positions respectively.
Winnacunnet needed a touchdown in the final minute to fend off Nashua North 20-17; Trinity overcame a four-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Milford 30-20; Londonderry piled up 500 yards of offense in its 36-34 triumph over Goffstown; and Plymouth had no trouble beating Windham, 41-7.
Trinity and Plymouth are the only Division II teams in the poll. The eight other teams are from Division I.
There are two games this weekend between teams in the poll: No. 2 Bedford will play at No. 8 Londonderry on Friday night, and No. 6 Winnacunnet will visit No. 1 Exeter on Saturday.
The rivalry game between Exeter and Winnacunnet will likely draw the largest crowd of any regular-season game this season.
THE MOST meaningful game on the Week 3 schedule may be Saturday night's contest between Bishop Guertin of Nashua and Keene at Nashua's Stellos Stadium.
BG and Keene both play in Division I West, a conference that includes Alvirne, Nashua North and Nashua South. Two teams from each conference will qualify for the playoffs.
BG (1-1) and Keene (1-1) are tied for second place in Division I West. Nashua South (2-0) is alone in first.
“That's the one thing I don't like about the new setup,” Keene coach John Luopa said. “We may have three of the best eight teams in the division in our conference, and one of them isn’t going to make it (to the playoffs).
“In reality, this is bigger than the Exeter game.”
KINGSWOOD of Wolfeboro ended a 24-game losing streak by beating Con-Val of Peterborough 34-6 in a Division II matchup Friday night. It was Kingswood’s first victory since a 20-13 triumph over Merrimack Valley of Penacook in 2010.
Kingswood, which opened this season with a 49-28 loss to Plymouth, lost its final five games in 2010, and went 0-9 in both 2011 and 2012. The Knights failed to score more than eight points in seven of their nine games last season.
NFL types who insist parity is good for the league would love what's going on in Division III. Fourteen of the 17 teams in the division have at least one loss. The unbeaten teams are Pelham (2-0), Fall Mountain of Langdon (2-0) and Campbell of Litchfield (1-0).
Roger Brown covers high school football for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.