Last week was the worst in quite awhile for this writer, finishing just 7-5, thanks to a couple of upsets.

But I don’t mind having a bad week if the upsets involve local teams winning, as was the case when Salem knocked off previously unbeaten Londonderry, which had looked like the class of Division 1 in New Hampshire. Hats off to the Blue Devils for that.

But Salem (5-2) can’t rest on its laurels if it wants to lock up a spot in the upcoming Division 1 playoffs. It should be favored Friday when it hosts Merrimack (3-4), but the visitors can be dangerous. Tommy Ahlers will need to continue his recent spree of big games and the increasing production of David Jacques is a welcome addition and asset.

I believe the Blue Devils will be focused enough to get it done.

Prediction: Salem 28, Merrimack 14

FRIDAY’S GAMES

Methuen (5-2) at North Andover (3-4): The game of the week. The Knights are a tough team to predict.

Prediction: Methuen 27, North Andover 21

Central Catholic (6-1) at Barnstable (6-1): Central’s tougher schedule pays off.

Prediction: Central 34, Barnstable 20

Tewksbury (6-1) at Andover (4-3): Did the Golden Warriors turn around their season in the second half last week? Let’s hope so, but Tewksbury seems to win close games.

Prediction: Tewksbury 28, Andover 26

Haverhill (0-7) at Billerica (6-1): Neither team is quite reflective of their record, but ...

Prediction: Billerica 34, Haverhill 14

Greater Lawrence (1-6) at Greater Lowell (1-6): The Reggies are capable of winning, but they have been quite inconsistent.

Prediction: Greater Lowell 30, Greater Lawrence 28

Whittier (4-3) at Northeast (5-2): Another CAC game that could go either way.

Prediction: Whittier 26, Northeast 20

Pentucket (6-1) at Amesbury (5-1): This is just a hunch, but I unfortunately smell an upset.

Prediction: Amesbury 22, Pentucket 20

Milford (6-1) at Timberlane (8-0): Milford’s only loss was to a strong Lebanon team so this could be a rare challenge for the Owls.

Prediction: Timberlane 27, Milford 21

Alvirne (0-7) at Pinkerton (6-2): Last week’s crushing loss shouldn’t matter for this regroup-opportunity game.

Prediction: Pinkerton 34, Alvirne 14

SATURDAY’S GAMES

Bishop Guertin (6-2) at Windham (0-8): No team deserves a win like the Jaguars, but it won’t happen this week.

Prediction: Bishop Guertin 35, Windham 20

Sanborn (3-5) at Plymouth (6-2): Plymouth is tough to beat at home.

Prediction: Plymouth 31, Sanborn 7

Pelham (7-0) at Winnisquam (0-8): Comparing scores can be meaningless but, still, Winnisquam lost to Campbell 51-7 and Campbell lost to Pelham 41-0.

Prediction: Pelham 52, Winnisquam 6

Brooks (0-5) at St. George’s (4-1): This is a long bus ride for a loss, but ...

Prediction: St. George’s 27, Brooks 20

Season record: 74-23

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