By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Clausen: Trojans, Spartans lead power ratings after solid starts
Placeholder Image

Friday was the first time in a long time that I haven’t seen at least one Hall County game (if not two) on a Friday night. Betsy and I were in Columbus, Ohio, celebrating the 1973 undefeated Ohio State Buckeye team.

I coached five years at Ohio State from 1971-1975 and coached some of the finest college football players in the country. They were not only outstanding athletes, they were good students and Woody Hayes, my boss, insisted that they were at the study table every night for two hours. And Woody was there to monitor the study table.

When Woody was recruiting players he promised the parents their son would get a great Ohio State education. While at Ohio State, I was the national recruiter and went all over the United States looking for players. I can’t think of a place where I saw better coaching than I see here in North Georgia and Hall County.

I think this could apply to a lot of schools, but I see Gainesville practice quite a bit. The Gainesville and Hall County players receive coaching as good as any place I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen some Northeast Ohio coaching that’s comparable, but not better.

If you have a son who is playing football right now in the Hall County or Gainesville school districts, he is getting great coaching and a first class education. As a parent of a player, you couldn’t ask for anything more.

1. North Hall (3-0) PR 2.49; Average Points Scored 45.67; Average Points Allowed 18.33 — North Hall had a bye this past Friday and will be playing Dawson County (3-1, 1-0 Region 7-AAA) at the Brickyard under the Friday Night Lights!

2. West Hall (3-1, Region 7-AAA), PR 2.98; Average Points Scored 36.50; Average Points Allowed 12.25 — Coach Tony Lotti’s positive effect on the West Hall team is starting to show.

A good coaching staff finds a way to help the team improve each week. Kwon Williams, the Spartans’ outstanding sophomore running back, rushed for 181 yards and four touchdowns on only six carries. 

Do the math: these are much bigger numbers than I’m used to working with on average per carry. Williams has reached the end zone seven times in only 13 carries the past two weeks.

With this type of performance as a sophomore, it won’t be long before the recruiters land at Hartsfield and get a map showing them how to get to Hall County. While they’re here, they’re going to come across a number of top-rated college prospects.

West Hall had a 41-0 lead over Banks County at halftime. Coach Lotti’s offseason football program is really paying off. They look stronger and quicker on both offense and defense. The defense held Banks County scoreless for 40 minutes — quite an accomplishment.

And at this time and with this score, there is a good chance West Hall was giving its younger players their time on the field. Friday night, the Spartans head to Fannin County seeking their fourth win of the season!

3. Gainesville (3-1, 2-0 Region 8-AAAAA), PR 2.63; Average Points Scored 47.25; Average Points Allowed 18.00 — Since moving to Gainesville in 1992, I’ve seen a high school football game almost every Friday night.

I look for a good game and as a non-partisan viewer, I don’t care who wins. I’ve always been impressed by the high caliber of coaching, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a quarterback that’s as talented as Deshaun Watson.

Of course, Watson couldn’t shine as brightly without his receivers, running backs and an outstanding offensive line. Unless you’re a coach or former offensive lineman, you wouldn’t appreciate how dominating the Red Elephants offensive and defensive lines are.

I watch them every play when I’m at a Gainesville game and I promise you they are winning the battle up front. The Red Elephants travel to Conyers to play Heritage Friday night.

If I was Heritage I’d buckle my chin straps early. (Heritage is 3-1, 2-0 Region 8-AAAAA)

4. East Hall (3-1, 0-1 Region 7-AAA), PR 2.13; Average Points Scored 49.00; Average Points Allowed 23.00 — lf I was coaching football in Hall County, I’d like to have Devin Watson for my quarterback, that’s for sure.

Watson, Deshaun’s younger cousin, threw for three touchdowns and ran for three scores as the Vikings beat the Johnson Knights 54-14 last Friday night. Watson completed 11 passes for 329 yards and added another 100 yards rushing to lead the Viking offense to 547 yards for the game. 

The junior quarterback threw passes of 80, 57 and 25 yards, spreading the ball around to multiple receivers.

The Vikings received early momentum when Milton Whelchel returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, giving East Hall an early lead, followed by a two-point conversion.

The Johnson defense was unable to slow down the Viking offense.

Coach Bryan Gray has those East Hall Vikings firing on all cylinders. White County (3-1, 1-0 Region 7-AAA) comes to East Hall Stadium this Friday. Go early to get your seats.

5. Chestatee (2-1, 1-0 Region 8-AAAA), PR 0.90; Average Points Scored 21.00; Average Points Allowed 23.33 — Chestatee’s football team reminds me of some teams I used to coach.

They don’t try to fool you much, but they grind on you play after play for four quarters. However, the game changer was a fake punt that Tray Bryant ran for 70 yards for a touchdown giving the War Eagles a 19-16 lead in the third quarter.

This is a heartbreaker for the defense. They think they’ve got you stopped and they think they are getting the ball back for their offense, then Chestatee lines up in punt formation. Everybody in the stadium thinks they are going to punt, then they run for 70 yards and a touchdown.

That’s a gutsy call.

But when it’s all over, they may not have been able to win without it.

Quarterback Wyatt Burgess scored two touchdowns and running back Zac Cheshire dominated the running game, taking the ball into the end zone twice.

Chestatee is proving to be a good second half football team. Friday night, the War Eagles will host the always strong Stephens County (3-1, 1-0 Region 8-AAAA).

6. Flowery Branch (2-2, 2-0 Region 8-AAAAA), PR 1.12; Average Points Scored 28.50; Average Allowed 25.50 —

After starting off the season with two losses, Flowery Branch has bounced back with two wins, including the game with Loganville this past Friday night where the Falcons were ahead 48-0 at halftime.

That puts them 2-0 in Region 8-AAAAA. They showed a balanced offense, passing for 145 yards and running for 216 yards, for a total of 361 yards.

Jackson McDonald, the Falcons’ fine quarterback, averaged better than 19 yards per carry on five
carries and scored three touchdowns.

He also completed six of 11 pass attempts for 145 yards — averaging over 13 yards per attempt.

Jeremiah Goss had a 38-yard touchdown run midway in the first quarter and Devante King had a 52-yard run for a touchdown and an interception run for 33 yards.

They were able to utilize their younger players in the second half and finished with a 48-14 win. They will be hosting Salem (2-2, 1-1 Region 8-AAAAA) Friday night at the Branch.

7. Johnson (1-4), PR 0.31; Average Points Scored 12.20 Average Points Allowed 38.80 — Johnson played East Hall this past Friday and lost 54-14, However, there was some solid play by Jesse Griggs, who carried the ball 31 times for 145 yards averaging more than 4.5 yards per carry.

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.

Regional events