When it's all over at the end of the season, it's the players who determine the power ratings. I use a simple mathematical formula to give you a feeling for the relative strength of our local high school teams as the season progresses. When coaching in the NFL, we had a statistician who correlated each of the 132 measurable stats with points scored and points allowed.
Can you believe we are about to enter into the last week of the high school football regular season? It wasn't long ago these tough, battle-hardened players were practicing twice a day in 90 degree plus weather to toughen up their bodies and minds for America's game. Hall County has one team with eight wins, three teams with seven wins and two others with winning records. As most of you know, football is a uniquely American game, it represents the toughness, aggressiveness and play-by-the-rules approach which uniquely represents the values we live by.
There are seven Hall County public school football teams, and six have records of .500 or better at the end of Week 9.
Five out of the seven Hall County public school football teams have a winning record, and some of their toughest contests are when they play each other. A case could be made that we might have a four-way tie for first in the power ratings, or at least a three-way tie.
The power rating is a ratio of points scored vs. points allowed. Example: Team A beats team B 21-7, therefore team A has a power rating of three, since team A scored three points to every one point scored by team B. The power rating, like many statistical concepts, is more valid each week as more games are played.
At the end of six weeks a good argument could be made for four different teams that they could have Hall County's best football team in 2012. In the next four weeks the great will separate themselves from the very good. That's why Hall County football attracts large crowds and Friday nights during the fall are so exciting.
At one time in my life I was the national recruiter at Ohio State University. I saw high school football from all over the country; from Southern California, Texas, Florida, up the East Coast and into the Midwest. Seldom did I ever see high school players who were better coached fundamentally than you and I see at any of the Hall County football games on Friday night. My wife Betsy and I are both big high school fans and it's great for us to see such high quality high school football.
At the end of Week 3 Gainesville and North Hall look like Hall County's best two high school football teams. Because of region changes we are not going to see this rivalry decided on the field by the players and coaches. Assuming, as in previous years, these are the two best, it's a shame for the players, coaches and fans.
At the end of Week 2 North Hall is our only undefeated team. Gainesville is 1-1, but has played the toughest schedule. I have not talked to coach Bruce Miller about it, but let me speculate: Going into the season he knew he had a number of high-quality athletes, so he scheduled really tough nonregion games, so that when the Red Elephants start playing region games the players are battle-tested and ready.
1. Gainesville (9-1) Power rating 3.84, Average Points 44.20, Average Allowed 11.50: The Red Elephants are storming into the playoffs after finishing the regular season with a 62-7 win over a very talented Stephens County team. This is a team which can, and does, dominate on both sides of the football.
1. Flowery Branch (9-0) Power rating 3.88, Average Points 49.11, Average Allowed 12.67: Flowery Branch is coming off a dominating win against Region 8-AAAA rival, the Salem Seminoles.
1. Flowery Branch (8-0), PR 3.66, Average Points 48.50, Average Allowed 13.25: Loganville gave the Falcons a good night's work and kept the game competitive through the first half last Friday, then the Falcons pulled away to remain Hall County's only undefeated team.
1. Flowery Branch (7-0) Power rating 3.99, Average Points 48.43, Average Allowed 12.14: Flowery Branch visited Heritage last Friday and for the first time this year, in my opinion, played a team which was almost as good as they were.
Football is a uniquely American sport. It was developed in this country, and the game itself represents the rough-and-tumble nature of the American people.
We still have five teams with a legitimate chance to make the playoffs, and I have the feeling that Flowery Branch has one of the best Class AAAA teams in the state.