I watched Johnson play Oconee County last Friday night and I want to share with you some of my observations. I have known for a number of years, that the Knights had fewer players on their squad than their opponents.
Last Friday night the Knights had 33 players in uniform and Oconee County had 56 and they were traveling. Most schools suit out every player at home, but travel with fewer players. The Johnson players are tough and some never leave the field.
Most high schools have some two-way players, but schools with larger rosters find ways to give their two-way players a break. Some of you old-timers (like myself) think, “What’s the big deal?” Because you and I did not have to play the fourth quarter against a guy who had only played half the time.
This week I want to tip my hat to you two-way players — you are making a special contribution to your teammates and it has not gone unnoticed.
1. Flowery Branch (8-0-0) Power Rating 3.71, points scored 315 (39.38), points allowed 85 (10.63)
Flowery Branch jumped into an early lead against one of the better AAAA teams in North Georgia, the Loganville Red Devils, using one of North Georgia’s best passing attacks. Austin Brown threw for 256 total yards spreading the ball out to a number of different receivers.
One of the Falcons’ strengths is their offense stays balanced; Jeremy Haley scored two touchdowns on the ground and ran for a total of 142 yards. Running out of the spread offense, the team playing defense against the Falcons has to show you their strength prior to the snap.
The Falcons have a strong tendency to run against a defense lined up to defend the pass and throw into single coverage when the defense has slipped an extra defender into the box to defend the run.
The Falcons’ stingy defense did give up three touchdowns — the most in one game this season — as the Branch beat Loganville 42-21.
Tomorrow night the Falcons travel to play Salem (4-5), with a power rating of .63.
2. Gainesville (7-1-0) Power Rating 2.31, points scored 305 (38.13), points allowed 132 (16.6)
In a dominating show of strength, the Red Elephants controlled every phase of the game last Friday night against Walnut Grove.
The 55-6 score only tells part of the story.
The Gainesville offense averaged 14.38 per carry on 32 rushing attempts, while the defense held the Warriors to 2.34 yards per attempt on 32 runs.
Deshaun Watson averaged 10.93 yards per attempt completing 53 percent of his pass attempts, and he had completions to six different receivers. Two receivers caught more than one pass — Stephan Mason caught two for 93 yards and freshman Sims Griffith caught two for 44 yards.
Seven different runners carried the football, led by Davon Pearce, who averaged 19 yards per carry on seven attempts. Markece Robinson, averaged 16.16 yards on six rushing attempts. The other runners had similar rushing averages, which speaks to the incredible control of the line.
Gainesville hosts region foe, the West Hall Spartans (3-5), tomorrow night at City Park.
3. North Hall (4-4-0) Power Rating 1.04, points scored 198 (24.75), points allowed 190 (23.75)
Last Friday night the Trojans traveled to Carnesville and beat a solid Franklin County team 20-14.
The Trojans offense was led by Kanler Coker’s solid play at quarterback. Coker average 7.85 yards per pass attempt. Mack VanGorder, who is one of those players who never leaves the field of play, caught a long Coker pass late in the game which set up the winning touchdown.
A splendid linebacker, VanGorder has a great nose for the football and has helped make the Trojans one of those tough teams to run against. Randy Logan created a game changer when he sacked the Franklin County quarterback and forced and recovered a fumble, which contributed to the game winning touchdown.
Two other Trojans made their presence felt on both sides of the ball — Darius Curry, the Trojans’ top receiver — had a key interception, which helped lead to victory. Imani Cross, one Hall County’s best running backs also backed up the line on defense.
Friday night’s game in Toccoa should be worth the trip — victory won’t come easy, but these Trojans get better every week and 6-2 Stephens County is in for 48 minutes of tough football.
The Indians have a power rating of 1.54 and have beaten Franklin County 10-7.
4. West Hall (3-5-0) Power Rating 0.74, points scored 163 (20.38), points allowed 220 (27.5)
Last Friday night, West Hall was beaten by a fine Monroe Area team 26-0. Monroe Area averaged 7.41 yards per carry on offense and held the Spartans offense to .11 per carry — that’s two total yards in 18 rushing attempts.
West Hall completely shut down the Purple Hurricane’s passing game, allowing one completion in eight attempts and averaged of 1.5 yards per pass attempt.
The West Hall defense got two interceptions and recovered four fumbles. Seldom does a team get 6 turnovers like the Spartan defense did last Friday night and lose.
West Hall’s strength up until last Friday night had been their passing game, which was completely dominated by Monroe.
The Purple Hurricane defense held the West Hall passing game to 2.03 yards per pass attempt.
West Hall faces their biggest challenge of the season as they take on No. 6-ranked Gainesville at Bobby Gruhn Stadium.
5. East Hall (3-5-0) Power Rating 0.71, points scored 165 (20.63), points allowed 234 (29.25)
Coming off a 24-6 loss to Dawson County, I wanted to point out that even in a loss; some players are playing outstanding football. Lineman C. J. White has constantly played fine football for the Vikings week in and week out. Chad Cravens’ fine linebacker play has not gone unnoticed and Richardo Rosales’ booming punts and kickoffs into the end zone have brought the fans to their feet.
Despite of losing to Dawson County 24-6, the Vikings had more total yards (186-145), more total yards rushing (117-91) and more total yards passing (69-54).
The difference was turnovers — the Vikings threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles. Dawson County had no interceptions and lost no fumbles.
Friday night, East Hall travels to Lula to play 6-2 Banks County, who has a power rating of 2.57.
6. Chestatee (2-6-0) Power Rating .71, points scored 197 (24.63), points allowed 276 (34.5)
Last Friday night, the War Eagles were dominated by a fine White County football team 56-14.
The Chestatee defense allowed 12.21 yards per run on 24 rushing attempts, while the Warriors kept what is ordinarily a strong War Eagles running game under control, allowing 3.57 yards per rush.
Neither team passed the ball much, but when the Warriors did, they completed three passes in five attempts, averaging 18 yards, while the War Eagles were 3-for-6 3 and had two interceptions, averaging 6.33 yards.
The War Eagles had no fumbles and recovered one White County fumble.
Friday night, Chestatee hosts a solid Lumpkin County (5-2), which has a power rating of 1.54.
7. Johnson (2-6-0), power rating 0.64, points scored 183 (22.88), points allowed 287 (35.88)
As earlier stated, the Knights had only 33 players on their sideline, while Oconee had 56 players. When it was time to change from offense to defense, Oconee had a number of rested players come on the field, while seven Knights — David Harkins (C/DT), Taylow Whitmire (G/LB), Jose Martinez (G/LB) Luke Gilleland (QB/DB).
Cedric Harris (TB/LB), A.J. Millwood (RB/WR/DB) and Joey Brooks (FB/LB) — never went to the sidelines.
Still, the Knights averaged 6.76 yards per rush on offense and held Oconee to 3.85 yards per carry.
Friday night the Knights travel to play once-beaten Monroe Area — its only defeat was to Gainesville, 49-17. Their power rating is 3.4.