At the end of six weeks a good argument could be made for four different teams that they could have Hall County’s best football team in 2012. In the next four weeks the great will separate themselves from the very good. That’s why Hall County football attracts large crowds and Friday nights during the fall are so exciting.
For a retired football coach, I couldn’t pick a better place to live.
Here are my thoughts at the end of Week 6.
1. North Hall (4-1) PR 2.69, average points 43, average allowed 16: The Trojans have scored 2.69 points on offense for every one point allowed by their defenses, putting this fine Trojan football team on the top of this week’s power rating.
Led by one of Northeast Georgia’s best blocking units, the North Hall offensive line has become a force to be reckoned with. When your runners have averaged 7.4 yards per carry on 54 rushing attempts, the big guys up front have owned the line of scrimmage.
North Hall quarterback Bradley Brown ran for 148 yards averaging 18.5 yards per carry last week.
In my opinion as an old defensive coach, the running quarterback is incredibly hard to control as he puts tremendous stress on the defender.
Former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes’ quarterbacks were runners and were used to putting incredible pressure on the defenders who had to lay back to defend the pass, which forced them into an open-field situation when tackling the Bradley Brown-type of athlete.
You and I would have to say at this point in the season that North Hall is one of four teams in Hall County capable of performing at a championship level.
2. Gainesville (5-1) PR 2.54, average points 44, average allowed 17.33: North Hall has a slight edge on the power numbers, but a strong case could be made that Gainesville and North Hall have both shown themselves to be superb high school football teams.
Deshaun Watson, a splendid running quarterback, completed 24 passes in 38 attempts for 234 yards last week. That’s an average of 6.2 yards per attempt. Watson as a runner averaged almost 7 yards per carry.
Gainesville’s diverse offense is a defensive coach’s nightmare. Load up to stop the run and they will beat you with the pass, load up to stop the pass and you’re giving Gainesville’s fine offensive line and runners an opportunity to control the game.
Friday night will find the Red Elephants at Conyers to take on Salem.
3. Flowery Branch (4-2) PR 1.26, average points 29.67, average allowed 23.5: In recent years, Flowery Branch has produced some of Hall County’s best athletes to move on to play at the college level. This year, the Falcons are unbeaten in Region 8-AAAAA play with an offense led by running back Justin Curry. Curry rushed for 176 yards last week, with much of the total coming in the second half when the Branch’s powerful running game took control.
Friday night the Falcons will take on Winder Barrow.
4. Chestatee (4-1) PR 1.15, average points 35.8, average allowed 31: My hat’s off to a fine Chestatee team. The War Eagles have consistently found a way to win close ball games. Betsy and I saw the Johnson-Chestatee game last Friday. Two very evenly matched teams came prepared to play all out for 48 minutes. The War Eagles beat what is, in my opinion, a much in improved Johnson team. This year’s War Eagle team plays together as well as any Chestatee team I’ve seen.
The big thing right now that the War Eagles need to keep working on is not giving up the big play, since down-in and down-out they are playing sound football.
Friday night the War Eagles host Walnut Grove.
5. Johnson (3-3) PR 0.71, average points 20.5, average allowed 28.85: This is an improved Johnson team. The Knights are sound fundamentally, they play hard and they play with more confidence than previous Johnson teams.
I have always felt in the past they were overscheduled. They still have a competitive schedule, but in most games if they play well they have a legitimate chance to win.
It would be great if this year’s Johnson seniors could go out winners. Saturday night, the Knights travel to play Clarkston. Bear down Knights — a winning season is within your grasp.
6. East Hall (2-4) PR 0.60, average scored 20.5, average allowed 34.17: East Hall has always had tough players, but its schedule has often included larger schools with more members on the football team.
Last week East Hall played North Hall in a tough 60-12 loss. The Vikings will have two weeks to prepare themselves for West Hall, and the Spartans-Vikings game will be a good one to see that Friday night.
Both teams will be rested and ready to play.
7. West Hall (2-4) PR 0.55, average scored 17.00, average allowed 30.67: Last Friday night the Spartans were beaten by one of Georgia’s very best football teams, Buford. Year in and year out Buford High School produces a number of players who will go on to play college football.
Buford beat West Hall 61-0. One of the great lessons from competitive sports is to bounce back when you get knocked down. The opportunity for the Spartans to bounce back will be Oct. 20 at East Hall — never an easy task.
Among many successful adults I have known during my life were those who often told me about their high school football coach and incredible lessons they learned from a sport in which they were often knocked down time after time after time — they got back up to fight again. Don’t worry about these Spartans; they are too tough to stay down.
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.