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Week 12 Power Ratings: Trojans head to playoffs in top spot
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When it’s all over at the end of the season, it’s the players who determine the power ratings. I use a simple mathematical formula to give you a feeling for the relative strength of our local high school teams as the season progresses. When coaching in the NFL, we had a statistician who correlated each of the 132 measurable stats with points scored and points allowed.

Our team goals on the Dick Vermiel-coached Philadelphia Eagles were determined by the 10 stats that correlated the highest with points scored on offense and points allowed on defense.

It kept our players, coaching staff and scouting department focused on what we hoped would lead us to a Super Bowl Championship.

I know this may be redundant, but at one time in my life as Ohio State’s national recruiter, I studied high school films from all over the country.

For schools the size of our Hall County public schools, I can’t recall seeing better prepared high school football teams then I see every Friday night during football season. In each week’s power ratings I look first at the win/loss record and second at the power rating.

At one time I looked at the power rating first and then decided wins and losses were a more important judge of relative strength.

1. North Hall (8-2): PR 2.86, average points 42.60, average allowed 14.90: This fine North Hall team lost this past week to Buford 45-16.

You might legitimately ask how could they get beat so bad and still be ranked No. 1.

The power rating is a ratio of points scored against, points allowed and the Trojans still have Hall County’s highest power rating. North Hall’s 8-2 record is equaled by Chestatee and

Flowery Branch. Buford has a history of producing not only championship quality football teams, but an unusually high number of college prospects.

When we are at this time of the season, we know less about the opponents other than they are either very good or they would no longer be playing.

It’s an exciting time for the players and coaches as they have had to earn the right to keep on playing.

My wife Betsy and I tip our hat to these splendid 2012 Trojans.

North Hall hosts Woodward Academy to open the playoffs at the Brickyard on Friday.

2. Chestatee (8-2): PR 1.54, average points 38.40, average allowed 22.90: It looks to me like the 2012 team is the best football team in the school’s young history and the trajectory keeps going up. Each senior class raises the bar a little bit higher for the players that are following for War Eagle Football.

Each week Chestatee executes their veer option offense better and with more precision. Madison County was dominated by the War Eagles’ very physical and aggressive offensive line. On defense, Chestatee kept tightening the screws, allowing only seven points. Chestatee hosts LaGrange, its first home playoff game in school history, Friday at War Eagle Stadium.

3. Flowery Branch (8-2): PR 1.42, average points 32.60, average allowed 21.67: Betsy and I went to the Gainesville/Flowery Branch game expecting to see two fine football teams. As we expected, we saw two very evenly matched teams, and both were well prepared to fight it out to the very last play.

The Falcons won the game 35-34 in a very hard-fought contest by both teams. It was a game so evenly matched that either team could have won. It reminded me of some Ohio State/Michigan games I had coached in, where neither team was willing to yield anything. If these two fine teams played 10 times they’d both win five. Flowery Branch hosts North Paulding to open the Class AAAAA playoffs on Friday at Falcon Field.

4. Gainesville (7-3): PR 2, average points 43.70, average allowed 21.90: Gainesville lost last weekend to Flowery Branch at Flowery Branch 35-34 in a game where both teams laid it all on the line.

Deshaun Watson, Gainesville’s fine junior quarterback, is a defensive coach’s nightmare. He is an excellent passer, but if you cover the pass too well, you have to deal with a great scrambling quarterback. Pick your poison. I know my power numbers have Gainesville fourth, however on any given night these fine Red Elephants are, and have been, competitive with the very best. Gainesville hosts Rome to open the Class AAAAA playoffs on Friday at City Park Stadium.

5. Johnson (6-4): PR 0.98, average points 25.30, average allowed 25.80: This year’s Johnson seniors gave their teammates extraordinary leadership. I saw this Knights team win and I saw them lose, but I never saw them fail to put forth a great effort. I think I see an improving Johnson team which is determined to leave a real mark on Hall County football. This year’s team is a notch down from the best, but I like the trajectory of the program. They are aiming higher and will be successful.

6. East Hall (5-5): PR 0.82, average points 24.70, average allowed 30.10: East Hall finished with a 34-0 victory over Fannin County. The Vikings used a balanced attack, dominating the game both on the ground and through the air.

Milton Whelchel finished with 87 yards receiving, while teammate Quay Jarrells rushed for 150 yards and scored two touchdowns.

This strong finish gives East Hall a foundation for next year’s seniors to build on. These hard-hitting Vikings should be proud of their strong finish.

7. West Hall (3-7): PR 0.46, average points 15.90, average allowed 34.50: Dawson County earned their first trip to the playoffs since 2004 by beating the Spartans 42-10 last Friday night.

If next year’s seniors want to provide leadership for the 2013 Spartans, it will start in the weight room and in the offseason program. Winning is never easy, but it starts with senior leadership.

Winning starts in the offseason and between classes, where next year’s players need to start thinking about and talking about winning.

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.

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