The 2013 NHIAA Football Tournament games get underway this week. All Conference games will be held on Saturday at the home of the higher seeded team.
Semifinal games will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the home of the higher seeded team. The finals are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23 at the home of the higher seed.
This is the first season of the newly aligned Division II playoffs. Eight teams will be in action this Saturday.
In the East Conference finals: Portsmouth (8-1) hosts Merrimack Valley (7-2).
In the North Conference finals: Plymouth (8-1) hosts Kennett (5-4).
In the South Conference finals: Windham (8-1) hosts Trinity (7-2).
In the West Conference finals: Monadnock (9-0) hosts Sanborn (5-4).
Time of games are originally set at 1 p.m. and are subject to change.
New Hampshire high school football underwent a major facelift this fall, and that new look saw the number of divisions dramatically reduced from six to three with Kennett High moving into a 20-school division.
For the first time since 1993, the schools will be split into three divisions, based on enrollment size.
The changes made by the NHIAA are anything but subtle and it will make winning a state championship all the more difficult. The number of divisions will be reduced from six to three, and there will be four conferences in each division. Each conference will have either four or five teams.
After the NHIAA adopted the six-division format for the 2012 season, the football committee was told to come up with a proposal that featured no more than five divisions for 2013. The three-division proposal was approved last spring and officially unveiled at the NHIAA's Media Day in August.
"We thought this is what was best from a competitive standpoint, in terms of teams making the playoffs and being competitive every week when they get off the bus," said Merrimack coach Joe Battista, who is a member of the NHIAA football committee. "The way it is now, there are teams that go into a season knowing they have no shot of making the playoffs.
"The other thing is now we'll have three true state champions. The champion will be the best of 20 teams, not the best of nine or 10 teams, and you won't always be playing teams in the playoffs that you've already beaten during the regular season."
The final four teams will be reseeded based on their season Football Point Rating. Plymouth has the highest point rating at 152 followed by Monadnock, 146; and Windham and Portsmouth, both at 142.
Kennett has a point rating of 74, the seventh highest of the eight schools in the Division II post-season, with only Sanborn behind it at 68.
There were two schools who had a higher point rating than Kennett, but did not make the playoffs this fall: St. Thomas (6-3), 92 points; and Milford (6-3), 90 points.
Scores for the Conference games will be reported on the NHIAA website under special alerts as they are reported.
Gates to the games open to the public 1 hour before game time. Ticket prices: adults — $7; senior citizens/students — $5.
For more information about all the NHIAA Fall Tournament Dates & Locations, please visit:
http://www.nhiaa.org and click on Tournament Info.