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Clausen: Gainesville stays No. 1 despite bye week
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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. In this week we rated the teams on the ratio of points scored against points allowed.

1. Gainesville (7-0)
Average Points Scored 35: Average Points Allowed 5.71: Power Rating 6.13: Hall County’s No. 1 team was open this past week, tomorrow night winless Gilmer plays the Red Elephants at Bobby Gruhn.

2. Flowery Branch (7-1)
Average Points Scored 36.38: Average Points Allowed 10.88: Power Rating 3.34: In spite of a slow start and an intense effort by East Hall last Friday night, Flowery Branch beat the Vikings 42-3.
Flowery Branch’s overall statistics were not particularly impressive in spite of the score.
The Falcons’ offense had 242 total yards, running the ball 39 times for 211 yards, and averaged a very good 5.4 yards per rush.
Freshman running back Imani Cross led all Falcons rushers with 133 total yards in 20 rushing attempts for a very impressive 6.6 yards per rush. Cross was in the game early for injured senior fullback Daniel Drummond.
Conner Shaw carried the ball eight times for 59 yards and an average of 7.3 yards per rushing attempt.
The Vikings’ defense put up impressive pass defense numbers, holding the Falcons to a 44 percent completion average and an average of 4.43 yards per pass attempt. The young Vikings matchup best at the skilled positions and as a spread football team themselves, they are familiar with the spread passing game.

3. Chestatee (4-3)
Average Points Scored 30: Average Points Allowed 19.57: Power Rating 1.53: The War Eagles’ defense was humbled by a very intense White County running game last Friday night. Yielding over 9 yards per rush in 35 attempts, almost nobody can win when the opposing team puts up those kind of numbers. White County also completed 67 percent of its pass attempts, while the Chestatee defense was unable to force any interceptions. On offense Chestatee had its usual effective run offense averaging 6.3 yards per carry, but its pass offense, which had been making progress, only competed 35 percent of its passes. The War Eagles’ passing game was buried by throwing four interceptions and averaged a very poor 3.29 yards per pass attempt on the night. It was an angry Warriors’ football team that showed up to play last Friday night; White County was coming off of two consecutive losses, a close one to North Hall 13-10 and a humiliation by Creekside 35-0.

4. North Hall (4-3)
Average Points Scored 20.57 Average Points Allowed 28.75 Power Rating 0.98: North Hall is coming off of a completely dominate game against Pickens County. The Trojans’ wing-T running game averaged 10.74 yards per run while four of the North Hall runners put up incredible rushing numbers. Avery Nix carried the football three times and averaged over 30 yards per carry, Peyton Wilhoite averaged 21 yards per carry on four carries, while both Matt Christmas and Graham Duncan made significant contributions to the North Hall running game. The Trojans did fumble the ball three times, but only lost one. The North Hall passing game was efficient completing 60 percent of its passes and throwing no interceptions.

5. West Hall (4-4)
Average Points Scored 22.75: Average Points Allowed 28.5: Power Rating 0.79: For two weeks in a row, West Hall played in a game decided by one point with only seconds remaining in the four quarter. Two weeks ago, the Spartans beat Johnson with a last-second play, but last Friday night it was Lumpkin County that made the last-second play to win the game. Once again unable to mount much of a running game, 21 total yards in 15 attempts with an average of 1.4 per rush attempt, West Hall had to rely completely on the arm of Shunquez Stephens. This was fine in the first half as the Spartans went into the locker room at halftime with a 22-10 lead. However, when an offense proves to be one-dimensional, the opposing coaches can make pass defensive adjustments, which they could not make if they had to respect an opponent’s ability to beat them with the running game. West Hall’s passing numbers were good but not great last Friday night. The Spartans threw the football 42 times and had 335 total passing yards with a 62 percent completion rate.

6. Johnson (1-7)
Average Points Scored 22.63: Average Points Allowed 37: Power Rating .61: The Knights played much better than the 41-23 loss to West Forsyth indicated. Johnson had a very respectable 404 yards of total offense to the Wolverines 410 yards.

7. East Hall (1-6-0)
Average Points Scored 10.57: Average Points Allowed 34.57: Power Rating 0.31: This young team keeps showing some progress when you look inside the numbers. Last Friday night against a much more mature Flowery Branch team the Vikings played excellent pass defense against the Falcons’ spread option offense. They held the Falcons’ passing game to a 43 percent completion average and to an excellent 4.43 yards per pass attempt.

Chuck Clausen is a Hall County resident who coached high school, college and professional football for 28 years and who currently serves as an analyst for high school games on WDUN 550-AM. His opinion is not necessarily that of The Times.

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