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Top-ranked Tide take on Astros

Roger Brown's First and 10: The stars come out for Concord-Pinkerton

PINKERTON ACADEMY coach Brian O'Reilly was talking about this year's Concord High School football team, but he could just as easily have been describing the 2013-14 Denver Broncos.

"They're impressive certainly," O'Reilly said when asked about the Crimson Tide, a team Pinkerton will face tonight at 7 in Derry. "Very athletic. Good speed. Good power running game. Lots of impact players — especially on the offensive side.

"They've had their way with everybody. No one has been able to stay with them so far, so we'll see. If we're not able to stop their offense it's going to be a long night."

Concord has earned its No. 1 ranking in the Union Leader/WGIR/WMUR Power Poll. The Crimson Tide is 5-0 and has won each game by at least 28 points. Concord is averaging 50 points per contest.

Concord has two running backs averaging more than 13 yards per carry: Mark Gaudet (13.5) and Walters Ndi (13.2). Seimou Smith, one of the top wideouts in the state, has also been used at running back.

"We are incredibly balanced (on offense)," Concord coach Eric Brown said. "We have three talented running backs and a QB (Robbie Law) who is versatile. We're pretty explosive, I guess. That's a testament to the kids and the hard work they put in during the offseason."

Although Concord has TKO'd each of its opponents by the end of the third quarter, it hasn't faced a team that can punch back like No. 4 Pinkerton. The Astros have won four in a row since opening the season with a 14-12 loss at No. 2 Bedford.

"I already know we are a much better football team than we were at the beginning of the year," O'Reilly said. "I think (quarterback) Jack Hanaway has been a real difference-maker for us. He's a real smart quarterback. A good wing-T quarterback. We're getting better and better."

Brown said the No. 1 thing on Concord's to-do list tonight is preventing Pinkerton running back Manny Latimore from having a huge night.

"Manny Latimore is in a class by himself," Brown said. "It's not just his runs from scrimmage. It's his punt returns, kickoff returns and the other things he's done. Hopefully they'll have to go to someone else.

"We've been really strong against the run, but I think Pinkerton's offense is a different level than some of the teams we've been playing. This is going to be a big challenge for us."

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ANOTHER interesting game on tonight's menu will take place in Portsmouth, where 5-0 St. Thomas will face 4-1 Portsmouth. Both teams are in Division II East, and tonight's winner will have sole possession of first place.

The schools are rivals in many sports, but have not met on the football field in more than 40 years.

"I told our kids this will be our shortest bus ride of the season — even shorter than when we play our home games at Exeter," St. Thomas coach Eric Cumba said. "This will be the place to be on the Seacoast on Friday night."

Both teams like to strike through the air, and the key matchup may be Portsmouth's offense against the St. Thomas defense.

- - - - - -

NEWPORT will play the only non-league game in the state this season when it faces Windsor, Vt., at home Saturday. Newport is 4-1 and Windsor is 3-3.

The game will appear on Newport's overall record, but will not count in the Division III standings.

Roger Brown covers high school football for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.

New Hampshire High School Grid Chart
TeamOAPFPAThis WeekLast Yr.
Exeter3-211692Alvirne, Friday, 7DNP
Spaulding3-2119117At Bishop Guertin, Sat., 416-24
Winnacunnet3-2134138At Keene, Friday, 77-20
Dover2-3113174Nashua South, Friday, 7DNP
Timberlane1-475136At Nashua North, Friday,DNP
Bedford5-017412Memorial, Friday, 7DNP
Concord5-025467At Pinkerton, Friday, 721-42
Man. Central3-2146141West, Friday, 7DNP
Man. Memorial1-4142232At Bedford, Friday, 7DNP
Man. West0-532241At Central, Friday, 7DNP
Pinkerton4-117271Concord, Friday, 742-21
Merrimack3-2182190At Londonderry, Friday, 7DNP
Londonderry2-3106145Merrimack, Friday, 7DNP
Goffstown1-4109155Salem, Saturday, 1:30DNP
Salem1-472135At Goffstown, Sat., 1:30DNP
Nashua South5-017070At Dover, Friday. 7DNP
Bishop Guertin4-112083Spaulding, Saturday, 424-16
Keene3-211834Winnacunnet, Friday, 720-7
Alvirne1-492136At Exeter, Friday, 7DNP
Nashua North0-565142Timberlane, Friday, 4DNP
TeamOAPFPAThis WeekLast Yr.
St. Thomas5-017841At Portsmouth, Friday, 7DNP
Merrimack Valley4-114887Sanborn, Friday, 6:30DNP
Portsmouth4-1214107St. Thomas, Friday, 7DNP
Pembroke1-4124163At Kingswood, Friday, 7DNP
Kingswood1-4101150Pembroke, Friday, 7DNP
Plymouth5-021661Laconia, Saturday, 1:3030-14
Kennett3-288114Windham, Friday, 70-51
Laconia2-3120212At Plymouth, Saturday, 1:3014-30
Lebanon1-469142At Hanover, Friday, 712-7
Hanover1-460108Lebanon, Friday, 77-12
Trinity4-1180104Souhegan, Saturday, 7DNP
Windham4-1129103At Kennett, Friday, 751-0
Milford3-217488At John Stark, Saturday, 1:30DNP
Souhegan1-4117148At Trinity, Saturday, 7DNP
John Stark1-446178Milford, Saturday, 1:30DNP
Monadnock5-0193103ConVal, Saturday, 6:30DNP
Sanborn3-2156101At Merr. Valley, Friday, 6:30DNP
Kearsarge2-337111Hollis/Brook., Sat., 3:30DNP
ConVal0-514179At Monadnock, Sat., 6:30DNP
H/Brookline0-562126At Kearsarge, Sat., 3:30DNP
TeamOAPFPAThis WeekLast Yr.
Epping-Newmrkt2-27379Pelham, Saturday, 2:3027-10
Bishop Brady2-2122110At Farmington-Nute, Sat., 1:3036-14
Farmington-Nute0-419123Bishop Brady, Sat., 1:3014-36
Raymond0-487143At Campbell, Saturday, 1:307-53
Int.-Lakes-Moult.3-2110121Bow, Sat., noon13-21
Gilford3-2123122At Newfound, Sat, 118-36
Newfound2-2100100Gilford, Saturday, 136-18
Winnisquam2-3107125Franklin, Friday, 714-7
Franklin0-549210At Winnisquam, Friday, 77-14
Pelham4-013320At Epping-Newmarket, Sat., 2:3010-27
Bow3-111928At IL-Moult., Sat., noon21-13
Campbell3-111492Raymond, Saturday, 1:3053-7
Newport4-113482Windsor, Vt., Sat. 1:30DNP
Mascoma Valley2-2126108At Fall Mtn., Friday, 7DNP
Fall Mountain2-380109Mascoma. Friday., 7DNP

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