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Week 1 football power ratings: Flowery Branch playing winning football
East Hall off to a fantastic start
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I use a simple formula to rate the Hall County football teams early in the year and that is the ratio of points scored against points allowed.

For example, if a team scores 20 points and allows 10 points, you would have a power rating of 2. You will notice as the season goes along at times, I deviate from my formula since I know that in a head-to-head matchup, one of the two teams was superior.

Early in the season, I don’t always use this as a factor, but as the season progresses and all teams have been tested, I start to use quality of competition as a factor when teams are very close.

I suspect that Buford is probably one of the best teams in the state. If by midseason they have dominated everybody, a loss to Buford will be weighed less against a team than a loss to almost any other.

We see some of the best-coached and best-played high school football in the country in Hall County. Since Betsy and I usually see parts of two games, each Saturday morning, I like to pore through my Times sports section to see about the games we didn’t see. Then I move the stats from the page to a spreadsheet and then study them for a day or two and start putting together the Power Ratings.

1. Flowery Branch (1-0), Power Rating 8: In spite of the fact that Flowery Branch has moved to Class AAAA, the Falcons put a number of dominating athletes on the field. Being in Class AAAA makes them harder to compare to other Hall County teams.

Their performance is supposedly against a higher level of competition, but Region 8-AAA is very tough as well. It looks like Falcons coach Lee Shaw has found an excellent new quarterback in North Hall transfer Kanler Coker.

He completed 76 percent of his pass attempts, leading the Falcons to a dominating win against region opponent Madison County. When six runners average 9.1 yards per rush, you can bet the big guys up front owned the line of scrimmage.

Shaw’s quarterbacks seldom, if ever, throw into double coverage, which generally means interceptions are because the throw is off target, or the defensive player has made an exceptional play on the football. The Falcon quarterbacks average a winning 13 yards per pass attempt. 

Flowery Branch’s defense again looks like it is going to be among North Georgia’s best, allowing only seven total points, 2.1 yards per rush and a 30 percent pass completion average on Friday. 

This week, the Falcons visit Winder-Barrow.

2. East Hall (1-0), Power rating 3.36: We saw the East Hall versus West Hall game last Friday night. The Vikings played very alert football: you make a mistake and they make you pay. The game was dominated on the scoreboard by the Vikings, but if you look inside the stats, you would have thought the game was closer.

East Hall football players always play hard, you make a mistake and the next thing you know you are receiving a kickoff. You get off the bus at Valhalla, you better buckle your chin straps, because those guys coming out of the East Hall side are always ready.

East Hall visits Johnson on Friday at Billy Ellis Memorial. The Knights are coming off of a close loss to a fine Jackson County team. 

3. Johnson (0-1), Power rating 0.60: The Johnson players and coaches have to be sick about last Friday against Jackson County. When you play as good as the Knights did, you expect to win. Seldom does a team outgain an opponent 316-129 rushing and lose.

When the team which has dominated the line of scrimmage loses, you can almost always blame the loss on turnovers. Johnson fumbled four times and recovered two of them. The Johnson offense does not, or at least hasn’t yet, threatened an opponent much with their passing game, which means on defense you can load up the box and go after the Knights’ running game.

This Knights averaged almost 6 yards a carry on 53 running plays. They host East Hall on Friday in what should be a great matchup.

4. West Hall (0-1), Power rating 0.30: West Hall is much better than last week’s 47-14 loss to East Hall would indicate. West Hall is a solid football team, they have excellent gameplans and their players played hard.

Last Friday night, special teams’ plays put them into some deep holes, so East Hall played on a short field and West Hall played on a long field. Let my team play on a short field and your team play on a long field, you can outcoach me and your players may out play my players, and I can still win.

This is why special teams are so important. West Hall lost the special teams part of the game and their defenders were put in tough-to-win situations. 

On Friday, the Spartans have their home opener against what should be an improved Chestatee.

5. Gainesville (0-1), Power rating 0: Gainesville lost 49-0 last Friday to Class AA’s top-ranked Buford, which is loaded with Division-I prospects. Most of the players in the trenches for Buford will go on to play in college and many in major colleges.

Buford was able to average more than 8 yards per carry and this is against a pretty good Red Elephants defense. The Red Elephants allowed 7.5 yards per pass attempt, which is right on the dividing line between winning and losing, if passing is the deciding factor.

Gainesville has a fine sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was forced to throw under intense pressure, completing 50 percent of his pass attempts and was intercepted twice. 

Friday’s opener for the Red Elephants against White County at City Park should be a good one.

Chuck Clausen is a Hall County resident who coached high school, college and professional football for 28 years. His power ratings column appears each Thursday during high school football season.

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