HAMPTON — There may be five games left in the regular season, but in actuality, the playoffs begin Saturday for the Winnacunnet High School football team.

The Warriors have lost two straight games and will face Nashua North in a Division I crossover game.

Nashua North and Bishop Guertin are tied for first place in the Division I West with a 3-1 record, while Winnacunnet enters with a 1-3 record and a fourth-place standing in the Division I East.

Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Stellos Stadium.

“We’re not looking ahead at all, we’re just taking it one game at a time,” Winnacunnet head coach Ron Auffant said after Wednesday’s practice. “If we do what we have to do each week we’ll see what happens after Week 9. We have to focus on each game. The kids know we need to play each week basically like it’s a playoff game to us.”

Winnacunnet will be looking for its first win since beating Alvirne on the road in the second week of the season.

After Saturday, the Warriors will have Nashua South (2-2), Spaulding (0-4), Dover (3-1) and Keene (1-3) left on its schedule.

“If we can get this one (against Nashua North), maybe we can get on a little roll,” Auffant said. “We need to get this one, though, to get us going. We’ll see what happens at the end of the year; there’s still a lot of football to go.”

Nashua North has won three of its first four games, but two of its three wins have come against winless Alvirne and Keene (1-3). The other victory was a 27-16 win at rival Nashua South last week.

“You just don’t know (what can happen),” Auffant said. “Keene beat BG last week. I don’t look at records; you can look at us at 1-3 and I think we’re a pretty good 1-3 team. It’s high school football, you just don’t know.”

Winnacunnet is coming off an emotional 31-28 loss to rival Exeter last week; it was the Warriors second loss of the season by four or fewer points.

“We’re learning,” Auffant said. “We’re playing a lot of kids who haven’t had much varsity experience. We’re hoping we can improve each week and I thought we took a big step last week, although we wanted to win. If we played like that the week before (against Portsmouth), it’s a whole different story.”

Nashua North quarterback Jeff Baldassari threw for three touchdowns and 260 yards in last week’s win over Nashua South, while the Knights rotate Tylor Chase, R.J. Jenkins and Jordan Buckmire in at running back.

“We haven’t seen much of (Baldassari),” Auffant said. “We have to stop the running game first. Their line is pretty good and we have to be on our game. If we can stop their run and force them to throw the ball I like our chances.”

Senior tackle Austin Rancourt, at 6-foot-3, 310 pounds, leads Nashua North’s big offensive front, which also consists of seniors Trey LeGraw (6-1, 285), Finn Littlefield (6-5, 265) and Joe Allen (6-0, 255).

“Nashua North is a physical team and has some good size,” Auffant said. “They have some good players and like to use their tight ends. It will be a tough game, we have to play well. We have to be physical with them and we have to stop their run.”

Winnacunnet junior quarterback Patrick MacDougall hopes to have his second straight solid outing, as he completed 13-of-20 passes for 175 yards last week in wet conditions against Exeter.

“(MacDougall) played much better,” Auffant said. “His fundamentals, his footwork, everything was better. He really played well and he knew that he had to play better.”

No letdown looming

The Warriors dropped a 24-13 decision at home against Timberlane last year after playing Exeter the week before. Auffant said his team came into practice on Monday confident and ready to go, and he doesn’t anticipate another lackluster, post-Exeter performance.

“These guys know what’s at hand now and they were frustrated and disappointed from last week,” Auffant said. “I think they understand that we can’t have any letdowns this week.”

Captain returns

Senior Liam Viviano returned to the field last Friday after missing the previous two games with a foot injury.

“I thought he battled out there,” Auffant said. “Just his leadership and presence out on the field was good for our kids.”

Viviano turned his ankle at Wednesday’s practice and is questionable for Saturday, while senior running back Nate Estabrook is out, according to Auffant.

Running tandem

Junior Billy Powers ran for 173 yards on 16 carries last week against Exeter, while senior John Ferrelli fought for 27 yards on four carries.

“(Powers) ran well against a good Exeter defense,” Auffant said. “If we can get the ball in his hands in open space good things will happen. He and (Ferrelli) are two different types of running backs. (Ferrelli) is more of a straight-ahead runner; they compliment each other well.”