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High school football: Chuck Clausen's Power Ratings
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At the end of Week 6, the Hall County football teams 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 and 4) opponents win/loss percentage.

But this is Week 6, the regular season is half over.

Head-to-head competition from now on will trump the power numbers if most of the other factors are pretty close. You will notice that Gainesville has better power numbers than Chestatee, but nobody can doubt that in a head to head match-up, the War Eagles were clearly the superior football team.

Each week I look inside the stats of all teams, read newspaper accounts and talk to football people who have seen teams I have not seen yet. I always see at least one game.

1. North Hall (5-0)

Average Points Scored 41.60: Average Points Allowed 7.2: Power Rating 5.78: Great offensive line play has been defined as "moving another man from one place to another place against his will." The five men who play those positions for the Trojans this year are the most effective blocking unit that I have seen in Hall County football during the last 16 seasons. For the last two Friday nights, they have dominated the defensive fronts of two fine football teams. When you are able to consistently control the ball game with 5-, 6- and 7-yard running plays, you break your opponent down mentally and you convince them of your superiority. Plus, you are able to keep your defense fresh and ready to play. The Trojans averaged 6.42 yards on 57 rushing attempts last week. They completed only two passes, but averaged 11.17 yards per pass attempt. The Trojans attack you both horizontally and vertically. Quick traps attack the middle of the defense, the sweep game puts them on the perimeter and from any given look they may have a counter play or a quarterback keeper or bootleg to keep you honest. Fabian Jackson can go deep on you any time. If you try and support your overmatched defensive front seven by putting an extra defender in the box, Jackson can and will strike quickly with a very efficient passing game. The Trojan defense allowed only one touchdown to the high-powered Flowery Branch offense. I for one did not think it could be done. The only team in this region that can beat this years’ Trojans, is the Trojans themselves. Remember that the best team does not always win; it is the team which plays the best.

2. Flowery Branch (5-1)

Average Points Scored 30: Average Points Allowed 13.17: Power Rating 2.28: Despite being dominated on both sides of the football by the Trojans last Friday night, this is still a fine football team. Jaybo Shaw, operating under intense pressure, still was impressive finding and delivering the ball to his receivers. Shaw has a great grasp of the passing game and is quick to find the receiver who is most likely to be open. His exceptional athletic skills allow him to stay effective even under a heavy rush. Against a great defense, Shaw still averaged 3.5 yards per carry and also averaged 8.45 yards per pass attempt. Three turnovers, one interception and two lost fumbles allowed a great ball-control team like North Hall additional time of possession reducing the Branch’s offensive time on the field. The Branch will be in Gainesville tomorrow night against probably a pretty angry Red Elephant football team, which is coming off of a bad night against the War Eagles. This will be, in my opinion, two very evenly matched football teams. They line up looking the same, but have completely different running games. Gainesville is more heavily committed to the pass, while the Falcons prefer to stay more balanced.

3. Chestatee (4-1)

Average Points Scored 36: Average Points Allowed 25: Power Rating 1.44: It was a huge victory for the War Eagles last Friday against Gainesville. I knew they would be competitive with the Red Elephants, but didn’t expect a 35-19 win. Using a much different offense than the Trojans, they, like North Hall, are primarily a running team. Chestatee’s execution of the triple option keeps getting better every week. Led by Jo Jo Sweet, Ethan and Ben Souther, all phases of the option game were effective. Both Sweet and Ben Souther averaged better than 5 yards per carry, which means they continue to run behind a very good offensive line. Stan Lutrell’s 3-5-3 defense was effective controlling the Red Elephants’ very effective spread offense. The War Eagles were the first team this season to hold Justin Fordham’s average per pass attempt under 8 yards. Fordham averaged a respectable 6.74 yards per attempt, but below the 8.5 yards per attempt most good passing teams need to achieve to operate at the playoff level. The War Eagles’ defensive front (line & linebackers) held Gainesville to an incredible 1.92 yards running. I think that is the best I have ever seen against Gainesville. Chestatee coach Stan Lutrell’s decision to run the fake punt leading 14-6 early in the 2nd quarter, with the ball on their own 39 yard line, was a great call for three reasons: 1) nobody expected it, 2) he would not have called it if he didn’t think there was a high probability for success and 3) he is telling his team we are going to let it all hang out. He was sending a message to his team, we didn’t come here to look good, we came to win. By the way, he also put the ball in the hands of a terrific football player, Chase Vasser, one of Hall County’s finest defensive players.

4. Gainesville (4-2)

Average Points Scored 34.0: Average Points Allowed 18.33: Power Rating 1.85: Gainesville is a better team than last Friday’s game would indicate, just like I felt the week before that Chestatee was considerably better than the 43-12 loss to Flowery Branch. Gainesville has some of the county’s finest skilled athletes playing for them. They are, however, playing with a number of sophomores, whom are performing very well, but still don’t have the physical maturity of some of their opponents. Week in and week out, nobody has a more effective passing game than Gainesville. Fordham continues to perform at a winning level and there are no receivers better than Gerald Ford and Tyler Adetona. Gainesville’s 3-4 defense was not very effective in handling the War Eagle veer offense. In my opinion, at this point in the season, North Hall is clearly the best all-around team in the county, but Gainesville, Chestatee and Flowery Branch are pretty evenly matched. Clearly the team which plays the best when they play each other will be and should be the winner. I think that the Flowery Branch/Gainesville game will be a great game against two very proud football teams, both coming off disappointing losses. You can bet both will show up tomorrow night at Bobby Gruhn Field ready to leave it all on the field. The Gainesville and Flowery Branch fans are in for a great contest, but one group of them will not like the results.

5. Johnson (2-4)

Average Points Scored 15.5: Average Points Allowed 17.83: Power Rating 0.87: Johnson had 100 more yards of total offense than Lumpkin County, but sill lost 17-7. Both Johnson and Lumpkin County had good running games, each averaged over 5 yards per carry, but Wirsing, the Knight’s quarterback, had by far the superior night passing the football. Bobby averaged 8.69 yards per pass attempt, completed 75 percent of his passes and spread the ball to four different receivers. While Johnson’s offense had a winning passing game, the Johnson defense totally controlled the Lumpkin County passing game. They held them to 42 percent completion and to 2.86 yards per pass attempt. In spite of the overall fine play, they lost primarily because they fumbled three times and lost all three fumbles. The Lumpkin County Indians had no fumbles and, while they did not have a very effective passing game, threw no interceptions. Johnson faces fellow Hall rival West Hall a week from tomorrow night as they have tomorrow night off.

6. West Hall (1-5)

Average Points Scored 17.50: Average Points Allowed 27: Power Rating 0.65: I can appreciate how good the West Hall community feels about the fine performance the Spartans had in their first win Friday night at East Hall Stadium. Despite losing their first five games, inside the stats you could see that the Spartans were an improving football team and had some athletes who were performing at a high level. West Hall not only won the game against East Hall, they dominated almost all statistical categories. West Hall average 6.24 yards per carry while holding East Hall to 2.09 yards per carry. They completed 60 percent of their passes while averaging 15.40 yards per pass attempt. On defense, they held East Hall to 2.79 yards per pass attempt. The Spartans had 308 yards total offense while holding the Vikings to 110 total yards. The Spartans travel to Pickens tomorrow night, a great effort in Jasper could bring them their second win.

7. East Hall (0-5)

Average Points Scored 5.6: Average Points Allowed 37.5: Power Rating 0.15: This young team is still getting some fine performances and excellent senior leadership on defense from defensive lineman Derec Rose, linebacker Hugo Rangel and defensive back Austin Morgan. On offense the Vikings top performers have been sophomore Montoious Tanner, senior Leon Curry and junior Cameron Mill. An East Hall win in the remaining five games would be great. The fans know this Viking team is a very young and, for the most part, an inexperienced football team, but we applaud their continuing great effort.

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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