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Week 3 Power Ratings: Flowery Branch continuing to dominate
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The Hall County schools have played 15 games in the first three weeks of the season, and Hall County's best team, Flowery Branch, is 3-0 against Class AAAA competition.

The Falcons are scoring an average of 54 points per game while their defense is allowing an average of 8 points per game.

The average team is scoring 27.5 points per game, while allowing 27.2 points, so Flowery Branch is 26.5 points better than the average team on offense and 15.5 points better than the average defense.

Let me give you a couple of stats that historically separated winners and losers: average yards per pass attempt and total running plays.

We can also add these stats in reverse to see who is playing championship-level defense.

If you want to look up the all-time stat guy in pro football, his name was Bud Goode, Bud has passed on, but he's the guy who taught football coaches the value of understanding statistics.

1. Flowery Branch (3-0) Power Rating 4.76
The Falcon offense kept performing at a championship level last Friday night against Apalachee as it rolled up 443 total yards.

Balance makes these Falcons unusually hard to defend; last Friday night they had 250 yards on the ground (7.5 yard per rush), and completed 14 of 22 passes for a winning average of 8.7 yards per attempt.

The Falcons defense allowed 429 yards, but only 20 total points in their bend-but-don't-break defense.

The Flowery Branch defense may have to tighten the screws in order for this fine team to play consistently at a championship level.

Friday night Flowery Branch hosts Cedar Shoals.

2. Chestatee (2-0) Power Rating 3.22
I have watched the last couple of years as the War Eagles played with many underclassmen in the lineup.

As they have matured, they have become much more efficient in operating their veer offense. Even though they operate out of the shotgun, what I see them doing it looks to me like Lou Holtz's veer offense.

The War Eagles dominated Johnson last week on both sides of the ball. Six different runners carried the ball as they averaged a very impressive 8.6 yards per carry.

The War Eagles threw the ball enough to make the Johnson defense respect the pass and completed 5 of 10 passes and averaged 14.1 yards per attempt.

Johnson, which always has a solid running game, averaged 5.5 yards per run.

Chestatee hosts Dawson County on Friday.

3. East Hall (2-1) Power Rating 1.11
The East Hall Vikings ran into a buzzsaw last Friday when they played Elbert County, one of the state's very best Class AA teams. Elbert County shut out a pretty productive Vikings offense, 48-0.

Tomorrow night the Vikings travel to take on undefeated Adairsville. The Vikings don't have an easy schedule, but they are plenty tough enough to handle it.

4. Gainesville (1-1) Power Rating 0.79
Any team that opens the season against one of the country's best high school football teams, Buford, will start the season with a low power rating.

After dominating White County two weeks ago, the Red Elephants had an open date to prepare for the North Hall Trojans.

Friday night it's Hall County's version of Michigan vs. Ohio State, as the Trojans come to City Park to take on the Red Elephants.

Two terrific coaches, two terrific bunches of young men, who for 48 minutes will play their hearts out.

Both Gainesville and North Hall have some terrific players, but this is one of those weeks where the name on the jersey is not near as important as the team he represents.

5. North Hall (0-2-0) Power Rating 0.54
This a young Trojan team, which has probably opened the season with the toughest first three games of any Class AAA team in the state: undefeated Jefferson, an always strong St. Pius X, and now a big rivalry game against perennial Region 8-AAA powerhouse Gainesville.

Last Friday North Hall was unable to control St. Pius' running quarterback Trey White, who had 211 yards rushing in just the first half on his way to 252 yards for the game and a 38-13 victory.

Friday night at City Park, the Trojans will face one of Northeast Georgia's finest running quarterbacks in Deshaun Watson, starting his second season at the helm of the Red Elephants.

Modern day defenses are not set up to stop the running quarterback except when he is running the option.

6. Johnson (0-3) Power Rating 0.39
Last Friday night the Knights couldn't sustain what is usually a pretty good running game against Chestatee.

Playing much of the night with poor field position, Johnson, it seemed, was always getting the ball with their own goal line at their backs and kept giving the ball to Chestatee around midfield.

Johnson gave up a long touchdown pass, which is a real momentum-changer.

Near its own 13 yard line, Chestatee's Jordan Degraff hit Tony Fayson on his own 30, then Fayson took the ball the last 70 yards for a score - one of the season's longest touchdown passes so far.

Johnson only suited up 31 players compared to Chestatee's 61, and many of the Knights play both ways.

The Johnson player is hard-nosed, but often finds himself at a disadvantage in the fourth quarter if he's playing both ways and the opponents he is playing against are resting on the bench half the time.

7. West Hall (0-3) Power Rating 0.31
The Spartans once again lost the turnover battle which led to another loss.

The Spartans threw three interceptions and lost one fumble against a good White County team last Friday night. West Hall never generated much of a running game: 54 yards on 19 attempts for an average of 2.8 yards per rush.

West Hall threw the ball 24 times, but had three interceptions and completed 12 for 176 total passing yards.

The Spartans defense played decent run defense, yielding 4 yards per carry in 41 running attempts by the Warriors.

The White County offense averaged a winning 14 yards per pass attempt, while throwing no interceptions.

West Hall hosts Stephens County (3-0) Friday. The Indians' power rating of 2.8 would suggest they are comparable to Chestatee, at least at this point in the season.

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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