Last week, I thought everyday about driving over to Canton to watch North Hall and Creekview. I saw Creekview upset Flowery Branch with the well executed Wing-T offense, and yet I have been watching Bob Christmas coach North Hall teams for eight years and the Wing-T offense for more than 50 years. I had a gut feeling that the game would be a coaching gem.
I figured Christmas and his splendid bunch of young men would find a way to win, most likely by 3-7 points in a hotly contested game with a big play in the fourth quarter.
Clearly well worth the hour drive. But I opted for a shorter trip, expecting another hotly contested game between an improving Chestatee team and Pickens. My pregame predictions about close games turned out to be wrong on both counts.
1. Gainesville (5-0, 1-0 Region 7-AAA): Average points scored 45.6, average points allowed 9, Power Rating 5.07.
The Red Elephant offense did something last Friday night I don’t believe I had ever seen or heard about, averaging 11.23 yards per rushing attempt and 11.67 per pass attempt. That is 523 yards in 46 total plays and many of those 46 plays came late in the game and were run by young players and not Blake Sims and his talented contingent.
One of AAA’s very best defenses held what had been a pretty impressive Spartans offense to 2.4 yards per rush and 3.86 yards per pass attempt. From what I have seen, this year’s Red Elephants are talented, disciplined and focused.
Each week during the 2009 season they seem to improve, in spite of the fact they have dominated each of the first five opponents.
Against West Hall they had no turnovers and five penalties for 57 yards. Friday night West Forsyth (3-2, 1-0) comes to Bobby Gruhn to play an important subregion game.
2. Flowery Branch (4-1, 1-0): Average points scored 41.6, average points allowed 17.8, Power Rating 2.34.
One of the things which makes these Falcons so hard to beat is the fact they run almost a perfectly balanced offense. If a defense did as Johnson did this past week and decided you must try and take away the pass, you find out that the Falcons have a great runner and an equally effective running game.
The Falcons were completing more than 70 percent of their passes in the previous two games and had been averaging almost 11 yards per pass attempt. Against the Knights, Imani Cross averaged more than 13 yards per carry on 12 carries and
Connor Shaw averaged 7.4 yards per carry on 15 carries.
The Falcons were still able to average over 7 yards per pass attempt. The Falcons run defense allowed more than 5 yards per carry, this is not a winning number, but it’s Ok if your offense can score 52 points.
For the Falcons, it is the Spartans at home Friday night and then the following week a very interesting match up against the Trojans up at the Brickyard.
3. North Hall (2-2, 1-0): Average points scored 21, average points allowed 28.5, Power Rating 0.74.
Ever since I started watching Christmas coach North Hall, I realized it is better to play them early in the season than late.
Last Friday, the Trojans not only beat a very good and ranked Creekview team on their field, but they dominated every phase of the game.
Occasionally you or I may see a back average 10 yards per carry on five to 15 carries, but how about those Trojans, the whole team averaged 10.2 yards per carry on 44 carries. The Trojans are very tough in the trenches on both sides of the football, and their backs, led by Peyton Wilhoite and Jordan Chaffin, run hard and aggressive and will fight you for every inch.
The Trojans play host to two very tough opponents during the next two Friday nights, White County (3-1) on Friday night and those high scoring Flowery Branch Falcons the following Friday.
4. Chestatee (2-2, 1-0): Average points scored 16.75, average points allowed 23.5, Power Rating 0.71.
The War Eagles running offense can explode and go the distance at any time and Ben Souther, the explosive running back, is on top of the defense in an instant.
Make the slightest mistake on defense and the senior has the speed to take it to the house. How does 21 yards per rush sound to you on nine carries? Few players, if any, can match those kinds of numbers.
The defense recorded a shutout last week, limiting Pickens to only 5 yards per carry, and the aggressive Chestatee defense allowed only 1.5 yards per pass attempt.
Chestatee visits Lumpkin County on Friday night.
5. Johnson (1-4, 0-1): Average points scored 9.8, average points allowed 24.4, Power Rating 0.40.
The Knights lost to a very good Flowery Branch team last Friday.
The Knight defense, which does a good job of matching up with receivers, played pretty good pass defense against one of North Georgia’s great pass offenses.
Connor Shaw, who has been completing over 70 percent of his pass attempts this past month was held to a 55 percent completion rate and 7.3 yards per pass attempt against the Johnson defense.
Johnson’s offense had it’s most productive night this season, scoring a season high 24 points, while averaging 5.3 yards per rushing attempt.
Anthony Prophet, the Knights senior quarterback averaged 9 yards per carry running the football.
Johnson plays host to Creekview on Friday.
6. West Hall (0-5, 0-1): Average points scored 17, Average points allowed 42, Power Rating 0.40.
The Spartans could not match up with Gainesville last Friday night on either side of the football, losing to the No. 1 ranked team 56-13.
Shunquez Stephans, the Spartans quarterback, was sacked four times but was still able to complete two TD passes.
West Hall visits Flowery Branch on Friday.
7. East Hall (0-5, 0-1): Average points scored 5, Average points allowed 26.2, Power Rating 0.19.
Playing West Forsyth in Cumming last Friday night, the Vikings were unable to stop one of North Georgia’s top runners, Ben Emert.
Emert was able to rush for 130 yards and score four touchdowns in a little more than two quarters of play. The Vikings offense didn’t get a first down until the fourth quarter.
This young Viking team has an open date tomorrow night, giving them an extra week to prepare for Gainesville.