The NHIAA officially released its postseason football brackets on Monday, so we thought we’d breakdown where our local teams stand, and exactly how they got there.
We’ll begin in Division II where two area teams find themselves in the tournament after very successful regular seasons. Kearsarge tops that list with a No. 6 seed by virtue of the team’s 6-2 record that included five wins in the Cougar’s final six games. Coach Zach Matthews’ team will get a rare opportunity to avenge a heartbreaking loss it suffered in Week 2, in which the Cougars came up one-point short against Kennett after a failed two-point conversion attempt in overtime. Kearsarge has outscored opponents 233-143 since that loss, worth a second-place finish in the North Division.
And Division rival Lebanon also solidified a spot in postseason play based on its 5-3 record, despite disappointing losses in two of its final three games. The Raiders enter the tournament as the No. 7 seed, which pins them in a difficult first-round matchup against a second-seeded Windham squad that rolled through the regular season with just one loss. Coach Chris Childs’ team has had its share of success playing on the road, though, suffering just one loss outside of Lebanon.
Turning to Division III now, the area will once again be represented by two local teams with rivals Newport and Stevens both advancing to postseason play. And it was the Tigers who claimed the top seed in the North Division by way of their perfect 8-0 regular-season record, that included wins against three playoff teams. Newport didn’t face Somersworth during the regular season, however, but will have the benefit of home-field advantage come Saturday’s quarterfinal.
And rival Stevens also earned a tournament bid by way of its 6-2 record, setting the stages for a matchup against a Bow team it fell to in the championship just two years ago. Coach Paul Silva’s team heads into postseason-play fresh off back-to-back wins over the final two weeks of the regular season. If Newport and Stevens were both able to manage wins in their respective quarterfinal match ups, the teams would go head-to-head in the semifinals in a rematch up of a Game of the Week be brought you earlier this year, won by the Tigers, 42-12.
We should also note that the 2nd-ranked Bellows Falls football team will face off against top-seeded Burr & Burton in the Division II Vermont Championship on Saturday at 11 a.m.