Since I can generally see one game, and at times parts of two games, I try to see a game that will educate me on our Hall County public school football teams.
We see great high school football every week during the regular season. The teams we see play here in Gainesville and Hall County can compare with any teams anywhere in the country.
We still have two fine Hall County teams in the contest which determines Georgia's state champions, and I have profiled those two teams and their Friday night opponents.
Thanksgiving is no day for cynicism. It's a time to be with loved ones and reflect on the good things in life.
Two mighty fine and very successful groups of Hall County football players have won in the first round and move into the second round of the state playoffs. I have listed both, as well as each team's two second round opponents and the two Hall teams which lost in Round 1, in the order of their power rating.
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.
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.
Words like "inspiration," "determination" and "amazing" can be thrown around pretty haphazardly in the world of sports, where superlatives are part of the everyday language.
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.
West Hall coach Tony Lotti has a three-year plan. It ends with the long-suffering Spartans competing for playoff spots, region championships and more. It's audacious in its scope and Lotti is absolutely sincere in its implementation.
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.
Gainesville coach Bruce Miller will be the first to tell you how big last week's win over Buford was.