Sep 18, 2014 6:50 AM

The State of Football: Week 3

Roger Brown

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Most of the numbers are big and ugly: 20, 47, 55, 12, 56, 45, 38, 55, 63.

Those are the points the Merrimack High School football team allowed in each of its nine games last season. The Tomahawks have surrendered 13 points in their two games this year, although it should be pointed out that Merrimack hasn't faced what you would call a scary offense yet. Merrimack opened its season with a 35-0 victory over a Keene team that has yet to score this season, and then beat a Bishop Guertin team that was without running backs Kelvin Rivera (hand) and Jackson Housman (knee).

Still, the early results have to be encouraging if you're among those who root for the Tomahawks. The Merrimack defense is heavy on sophomores -- as many as five play at any time -- and has been bolstered by the return of Joe Giampietro and Stephen Gage. Giampietro suffered a season-ending knee injury in a Week 2 victory over Memorial last season, and the Tomahawks lost six of their final seven games. Gage moved out of state last year, but returned to Merrimack for his senior season.

"I've been pleasantly surprised by how quickly some of the younger kids have picked up the defense," Merrimack coach Dante Laurendi said. "I like our willingness to compete.

"I don't think you have a feel for your team in Week 2 regardless of your record. You're still trying to figure out who you are, but anybody would much rather start off 2-0 than 0-2. We were 2-0 last year."

We should know a lot more about how good Merrimack is following Saturday's game at Nashua South (1 p.m.). South is 0-2, but its losses came against unbeaten Salem and unbeaten Pinkerton Academy. South is a better team than that 0-2 record might indicate.

"If there's ever a deceiving record it's South's," Laurendi said. "They have talent all over the place. Each year that's a program that's in or fighting for a playoff spot.

"We know this will be a test for us. They're not far off."

At any rate, with the utmost confidence ... this week's selections:
Concord 36
Dover 6
Concord extends the state's longest winning streak to 17 games.

Memorial 21
Portsmouth 20
It'll be interesting to see what Isaac Velez can do in his second game as Memorial's quarterback.

Spaulding 14

Central 8

Don't expect to see much offense in this one.

Bedford 20
Winnacunnet 19

This game should be worth the price of admission.

Londonderry 21
Nashua North 7

Lancers will be unbeaten heading into next weekend's game against rival Pinkerton.

Bishop Guertin 14
Timberlane 13

This is as close to a must-win game as there can be in Week 3.

Alvirne 20
Keene 14

Showing some confidence in the Broncos. They better not let me down.

Exeter 28
Goffstown 14

Exeter defense still hasn't allowed a point.

Nashua South 27
Merrimack 21

Going with the 0-2 team over the one that's 2-0.

Pinkerton 21
Salem 13

This is where we find out how good Salem is. Or we may find out how good Pinkerton is.


Kingswood 14
Pembroke 12

Were I a Division II team, I would want to be in Division II East.

Laconia 20
West 7
West offense has produced one TD in eight quarters.

Kearsarge 26

Hanover 14

It would be tough for Kearsarge to dig itself out of an 0-3 hole.

Kennett 21
Plymouth 14

Anyone remember the last time a Plymouth team started 0-2?

Milford 20
Souhegan 13

Were I a Division II football team I would not want to be in Division II South.

Trinity 28
Pelham 14

Pioneers rebound from a lopsided loss to Windham.

Monadnock 26
ConVal 6
Have a feeling this could be the start of a lengthy Monadnock winning streak.

St. Thomas 28
Merrimack Valley 20

First real test for the Saints.

Windham 42
John Stark 14

It appears the Jaguars are as advertised.

Hollis/Brookline 20
Sanborn 6

Impressed with the way the Cavaliers bounced back from an ugly Week 1 loss last week.


Franklin 6

Raymond 0

It's been a long time since Franklin celebrated a home victory.

Bow 22
Stevens 13

These teams met in last year's Division III championship game. That one went Bow's way as well.

Winnisquam 22
Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough 20

The New Hampshire Football Report Power Index gives Winnisquam a slight edge, despite the fact that the Bears will be on the road.

Somersworth 36
Gilford 12

Toppers are going to score a lot of points this season.

Epping-Newmarekt 28
Mascoma 6

Epping-Newmarket avoids 0-2 start.

Bishop Brady 26
Newfound 0

Green Giants created a lot of positive momentum with the way they beat Epping-Newmarekt last week.

Campbell 14

Newport 13

This opinion is probably in the minority, but willing to give the Cougars another chance.


Fall Mountain 7
Farmington-Nute 6

Just a reminder: This game will be played at Kingswood..

Last week: 20-6
Record to date: 33-12

The State of Football, a commentary on New Hampshire high school football, appears each Friday throughout the season. Follow Roger Brown on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.


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