We still have two fine Hall County teams in the contest which determines Georgia’s state champions, and I have profiled those two teams and their Friday night opponents.
1. Peach County (11-1), PR 3.06 average points 35.92, points allowed 11.75: Right now it looks like the North Hall Trojans are matched up against a tough opponent for the next round of the state playoffs. Stats indicate that the Peach County team has preformed at a slightly higher level on defense, but North Hall has a small edge on offense — but it’s mighty close.
Two things I have noticed about this year’s Trojans: They bring their “A” game and they will usually be well-prepared. When we get to this time of the playoffs, we see two teams with incredible work habits. There is something about knowing that if you lose you are going to have to check in your uniforms that brings out the best in young athletes.
At this time of the year I don’t know much about the Hall County team’s opponent, other than the fact they are very good. The only game Peach County lost was to Carver the beginning of November.
2. North Hall (10-2), PR 2.89, Average Points 39.75, points allowed 13.7: Knowing that it’s win or go home is especially motivating for seniors. This year’s Trojan seniors have given their underclassmen teammates terrific leadership and a win Friday night will be remembered forever. Few things we do in life are seen and then remembered by so many friends and family members as great athletic contests.
The Trojans’ opponent brings a long history of success to Friday night’s game, but gradually the Trojans are building a tradition of their own. The Trojans are tough and come to games well-prepared each week and they are playing with more confidence and high expectations.
3. Gainesville (9-3), PR 1.96, average points 44.92, points allowed 22.92: I have seen Gainesville come back from too many first-half deficits to ever count them out in a big ball game. Last Friday night Gainesville was down 35-21 at halftime.
Many teams, after taking this kind of first-half beating come out for the second half hanging their heads — not Gainesville. All you have done is made them angry.
The Gainesville coaching staff makes excellent halftime adjustments, and the senior class fires up the team. Gainesville is the kind of team that is difficult to beat mentally. Kell thought it was winning during the first half, but didn’t realize until they were outscored in the third quarter 21-0 and the fourth quarter 19-7 that all they were doing was making the Red Elephants mad.
4. Harris County (8-4), PR 1.15, average points 26.58, points allowed 23.08: Unlike Gainesville, the Red Elephants opponent on Friday does not have a long tradition of winning. Before this season, Harris County had long history of average to below average football teams.
You can bet if we were allowed to get inside of the Harris County locker room, we would find an unusual number of fine senior leaders. When a team performs way above its history, you can bet it has seniors with high expectations and they had been planting the seed since they were sophomores.
Harris County lost its first four games and then won the next eight games — they will be ready!
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.