Can you believe we are about to enter into the last week of the high school football regular season? It wasn’t long ago these tough, battle-hardened players were practicing twice a day in 90 degree plus weather to toughen up their bodies and minds for America’s game. Hall County has one team with eight wins, three teams with seven wins and two others with winning records. As most of you know, football is a uniquely American game, it represents the toughness, aggressiveness and play-by-the-rules approach which uniquely represents the values we live by.
Hall County has attracted some fine teachers of football, and it’s a pleasure to know them and watch them make men out of boys.
They are preparing some fine citizens for the next generation.
1. North Hall (8-1, 6-0) PR 3.94, average points 45.56, points allowed 11.56: Every week the Trojans seem to get a little better. It seems like head coach Bob Christmas, his coaching staff and players make good use of their practice time. The offense I have seen the Trojans run is very similar to one I used both as a player and coach. Since much of the blocking is based upon angle blocks, double teams and traps, if you are a defender and you don’t see this kind of blocking as daily routine, it seems that the blockers are coming from all angles and they are. When you and I look inside the numbers after 10 weeks of competition they look like Hall County’s best performing team. Look back at the Trojans’ power numbers, they have been dominating. Friday night, these fine Trojans have their toughest test of the season, but they have no reason to think they can’t compete on a down-to-down basis. Upsets happen every week at every level, there is nothing more satisfying as a competitor then to walk off the field knowing you and your teammates absolutely left it all on the field. Region 7-AAA champion North Hall will be in Buford on Friday night to take on the Wolves.
2. Gainesville (7-2, 6-1) PR 2.19, average points 44.78, points allowed 20.44: The Red Elephants, after taking a 41-20 halftime lead over Loganville, apparently came out after halftime expecting to continue their dominance, while their opponents were making adjustments and came out of their locker room angry and ready to play. I have been, at one time, both a player and a coach on both sides. Loganville finished with 415 total yards and this was against, in my opinion, one of Northeast Georgia’s best defenses. Football is a tough, physical game when played right and mental toughness is required at all times. It’s a lesson we often learn too late. The Gainesville team that played the first half is the real team, send them out for a full 48 minutes and they are one of the best in Northeast Georgia. Friday night’s game is for “all the marbles,” when two of the best have 48 minutes to fight for superiority when Gainesville travels to Flowery Branch.
3. Flowery Branch (7-2, 7-0) PR 1.49, average points 32.33, points allowed 21.67: A legitimate argument can be made, that since on average the Falcons play schools with large student populations, they may deserve of a higher rating. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to turn student populations into a weighted number. If you are like me and just a nonpartisan fan and you want to see what I think will be great competition, I’d get there early for the Gainesville game Friday night at the Branch — we will see two teams that know how to lay it on line for the full 48 minutes.
4. Chestatee (7-2, 5-1) PR 1.38, average points 37.33, points allowed 27: I was always a stat guy when I was coaching and I remember Bud Goode, the guru of NFL statistics, use to remind us that on average teams turned the ball over 2.3 times a game. Turn the ball over four times and you will lose 90 percent of the time. This is a very good War Eagle team, but turnovers have been a factor in their losses. This is an excellent veer offense football team, and it’s an offense I helped run at one time as Lou Holtz’s offensive coordinator. It’s a lot of decision making by your quarterback as he moves down the line with the ball. Turnovers were a major factor in last week’s loss to Monroe Area as Chestatee turned the ball over five times. Don’t get me wrong, I love the veer offense, it is tough to defend, but your QB is in some fumble-prone situations at times and some defenses try and take advantage of it. Chestatee visits Madison County on Friday.
5. Johnson (5-4) PR 0.90, average points 23.67, points allowed 26.33: The Knights had an open date last Friday, giving them an extra week to prepare for Heritage-Catoosa (0-9). If these Knights prepare well and play hard on Friday, this year’s proud Johnson seniors will have led their teammates to a winning record and may be remembered as the group who turned the Johnson football program around.
6. East Hall (4-5, 2-4) PR 0.71, average points 23.67, points allowed 33.44: The Vikings lost to Buford last Friday 49-6. Buford has had a football machine for years and I am sure they attract parents of kids who have college level talent, knowing that all college recruiters make a stop a Buford High (or they should) looking for college level talent. These Vikings played hard, they always do. Friday night the Vikings finish their season at Fannin County (1-6, 1-5). It would be nice to see the Vikings hard working seniors go out with a 5-5 record.
7. West Hall (3-6, 2-4) PR 0.48, average points 16.22, points allowed 33.67: The West Hall Spartans lost to White County 42-7, lowering their record to 3-6 and significantly lowering their power rating. This is a team that plays hard and is improving every week. West Hall hosts Dawson County on Friday.
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.