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Clausen: Big Red, Falcons stay on top
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At the end of week 8 the Hall County football players have created the following power ratings. As the season goes on I take into consideration the following criteria: 1) Head to head competitions; 2) win/loss record; 3) ratio of points scored vs. points allowed; 4) opponents win/loss percentage.

After studying football stats for 15 seasons in the National Football League and eight seasons at Ohio State and William and Mary we found some stats that were more important than others. Each week I will look inside the stats and try and highlight the ones which separate the strong teams from the weaker teams.

1. Gainesville (8-0)

Average Points Scored 35.88; Average Points Allowed 5.75; Power Rating 6.2: Hall County’s No. 1 team put up winning numbers on both sides of the ball against Gilmer last Friday night.

The Red Elephants were able to play a lot of players against a Gilmer football team which is winless through eight games. Gainesville played three quarterbacks, starter Blake Sims, Mike Norman and Stephen Mason. The three together averaged 9.19 yards per completion, a strong winning number and they spread the ball around to seven different receivers.

This is a very talented receiving corps, they are tough to cover and will go up and make the tough catch when called upon.

Gainesville had three runners who averaged more than 10 yards per carry; Sims averaged 17.25 yards per carry on four rushing attempts, Devon Pierce averaged 13.33 yards per carry on six running plays and Teryan Rucker had 10 yards per carry on four plays.

I am not sure how many young players played on defense, but the Gainesville defense was it’s usually dominating self.

They allowed only .54 yards per rush on 35 running plays, a completion percentage of 25 and held the Bobcat passing game to 3.5 yards per completion.

The Red Elephants should be highly favored Friday night when they travel to Johnson to play the Knights.

However, the older Gainesville players may remember one of Hall County’s biggest upsets I have seen in Hall County football, when two seasons ago the Knights upset a highly-favored Red Elephants football team.

2.Flowery Branch (8-1)

Average Points Scored 37: Average Points Allowed 11.44: Power Rating 3.23: This Flowery Branch team seems to get better each week.

I attended last Friday night’s game against the 7-2 West Forsyth team expecting a fairly-close, hard-fought contest.

Early on you could see that the Branch was going to control the game in spite of a very intense effort by a very well prepared Wolverine football team.

The Branch defense held Ben Emert, West Forsyth’s running back, to 3.5 yards per carry in 14 rushing attempts, and kept an offense, which had been averaging 27 points a game, to 16 points.

The front seven for Flowery Branch consistently swarmed the football, while the Flowery Branch pass defense held a pretty good Wolverine passing game to 5.75 yards per completion.

The Falcon running game, which was played without their leading rusher, Daniel Drummond, was fine.
Connor Shaw averaged 5.4 yards per carry, and freshman Imani Cross averaged 5.4 yards per carry from the running back position.

The Falcon passing game was solid — Connor Shaw was sharp, hitting 74 percent of his passes, and averaged a solid 9.89 yards per completion.

Flowery Branch has an open date Friday night and then finishes the season against Gainesville on Nov. 7.

The Falcons/Red Elephants game should be a real showdown, by clearly the two very best teams I have seen in 7-AAA. The winner of the Flowery Branch/Gainesville game will be the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs, the loser will be the third seed.

3. North Hall (5-3)

Average Points Scored 24.88: Average Points Allowed 21.38: Power Rating 1.16: When you look at the stats from the North Hall/Chestatee game, you would think the game was pretty close. North Hall’s offense had 447 yards and its defense yielded 410 yards of total offense. However, North Hall scored 55 points and yielded only 24.

The reports we got from those who saw the game said that the Trojans took control of the game early, and the outcome never seemed to be in doubt.

North Hall ran the ball 32 times and averaged an incredible 9.47 yards per rush, that is great offensive line domination, with a top effort coming from the North Hall runners, Graham Duncan, Avery Nix, Peyton Wilhoite, and Matt Christmas.

Blayne Gilmer had a nice night throwing the football. He completed 57 percent of his pass attempts and had extremely efficient stats averaging 20.57 yards per completion.

Duncan had two receptions for 109 total yards to lead the receiving corps. His 109 yards represented almost one fourth of North Hall’s total offense for the night.

The North Hall defense allowed an average of 6.71 yards per rush, but they forced three fumbles and recovered two of them.

The Trojans’ pass defense continued to be effective and efficient allowing only a 33-percent completion average, and only 3.5 yards per completion.

With two games remaining, Gilmer on Friday night and Lumpkin County next week, this Trojans team is in the driver’s seat for the No.2 seed in 7-AAA.

4. Chestatee (4-4)

Average Points Scored 29.25: Average Points Allowed 24: Power Rating 1.22: I was surprised that the Chestatee/North Hall game was not more competitive.

Chestatee’s well-run option running game has been effective most of the season and its passing game had been getting better. With the exception of the Gainesville game where they were shut out, and Flowery Branch where they scored only one touchdown, the War Eagles have shown the ability to move the football and put points on the board.

There were three factors which probably contributed to the lopsided score.

1: The War Eagles fumbled three times and lost two.

2: They completed only 4-of-12 pass attempts.

3: They averaged only 21 yards per punt on four punts.

Because of these factors, Chestatee was playing on a long field, while their opponent was playing on a short field. North Hall didn’t have to move the ball as far to get points on the board.

I personally have always felt that the worst time of the season to play the Trojans is in the last three games, they tend to execute better each week and their young players are almost always playing better by that part of the season. Chestatee has two very tough opponents to play, neither one will be easy, West Forsyth on Friday night and Creekview the following week.

If these War Eagles can make the playoffs going through these two teams, they will enter the playoffs battle tested and ready.

5. West Hall (4-4)

Average Points Scored 22.75: Average Points Allowed 28.5: Power Rating 0.79: The Spartans are coming off an open date and will play host to East Hall on Friday night.

6. Johnson (2-7)

Average Points Scored 21.89: Average Points Allowed 34.43: Power Rating .64: The statistics in this game were about as close as the 16-13 final score would indicate. Johnson had 212 total yards to East Hall’s 206. East Hall did a pretty good job of controlling, which had been a pretty effective Johnson running game. The Knights averaged 4.75 yards per rushing attempt.

The Knights played solid defense, holding the Vikings to 4.57 yards per rushing attempt.

They allowed only one pass completion in three attempts by the Vikings, but that was for a 37-yard completion.

The Knights defense recovered one fumble and had no interceptions, with only three passing attempts there were not many chances.

Anthony Prophet, who had been held out the first half because of a knee bruise, returned to action in the second half and compled 3-of-4 attempts, one to Mick Shannon for the winning touchdown.

Mantevius Rucker led the Knights running game carrying the football 18 times for 138 yards, an average of 7.67 yard per attempt.

Friday night it is the top-rated Red Elephants at Johnson. Johnson proved in 2006 it could be a giant killer, nobody should take these hard-hitting Knights lightly.

7. East Hall (1-7)

Average Points Scored 10.88: Average Points Allowed 32.25: Power Rating 0.34: This past week East Hall used a running game plan against the Johnson Knights and almost pulled off an upset.

Corey Richardson carried the ball 10 times and averaged an excellent 6.9 yards per carry. Equally effective was Xavier Robinson, who carried the football nine times for 56 yards for an average of 6.22 yards per carry. East Hall only threw the football three times completing one for 37 yards.

This young East Hall team has two games remaining against teams which it should be competitive against. Friday night the Vikings play the Spartans at West Hall, a fine passing team, but East Hall has some good pass defense athletes, they finish the season the following week against Pickens.

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