HS football playoff picture coming into view
By Mike Zhe / firstname.lastname@example.org Nov 1, 2019 at 9:59 AM
Coaches like to tout high school football as an extension of the classroom.
They’re right, at least in New Hampshire this weekend. With playoff scenarios broken down, it’s an extension of the math classroom.
St. Thomas Aquinas coach Dave Bryant was down after last Friday’s 34-15 loss at Pelham, one that dropped his team to 4-4 and, in his mind, out of the Division II playoff picture.
Not so fast. Less than 24 hours later, the crunched numbers put some air back in the postseason hopes, and Bryant’s players let him know.
“They know (the scenarios) better than me,” said Bryant. “They’re the ones that started messaging me Saturday. I thought we were out of it Friday night, I’m not gonna lie.”
There is a path to the postseason for the Saints, though it’s a tight one. It definitely requires a win over Hollis-Brookline (6-2), a game that will played on Saturday (2 p.m.) on Dover Point.
It also requires some help from Alvirne (6-2) and Bow (8-0).
Because Division II’s playoff teams are selected by the point rating system, the Saints could finish with the same 5-4 record as Souhegan — a team that beat them in Week 1 — and grab the eighth and final spot.
The tipping point, according to the math, is the points the Saints would get from an Alvirne win at Milford on Friday night, since they beat Alvirne (6-2) in Week 2. If Milford (7-1) wins, then Souhegan gets more points thanks to its win over the Spartans in Week 5.
“The kids know it,” said Bryant. “They’ve very excited to go for it.”
Whether or not a playoff spot is still a possibility when they take the field Saturday, the Saints know they need to clean up the turnovers and penalties that hurt them at Pelham, particularly after freshman kicker Devon Paquette nailed a 25-yard field goal to give them a 9-7 halftime lead.
“We just couldn’t get it going in the second half,” said Bryant. “That’s a good team. Their defense is real solid. We were able to move the ball, but getting behind them was tough.”
It’s playoff time in Maine, and two local teams are hoping to kick off long runs on Friday.
Marshwood (7-1) is the No. 1 seed in Class B South and should have a layup to open, against an eighth-seeded Gorham team it beat, 52-0, in Week 4.