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Week 9 Power Ratings: Flowery Branch still the class of Hall County
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1. Flowery Branch (7-0) Power rating 3.99, Average Points 48.43, Average Allowed 12.14: Flowery Branch visited Heritage last Friday and for the first time this year, in my opinion, played a team which was almost as good as they were.

This game was on television, so we could not only see the game, but also an occasional replay. For the first time this year, the Falcons played a team which forced the issue for the full 48 minutes.

At no time in the game did the very competitive Patriots concede anything to the Falcons.

The Falcons took a 14-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, but it was not enough of a lead to break the will of their fine opponent, who played very determined football during the third and fourth quarters, only to come up short 21-13.

This game should be a great learning experience for the Falcons. I suspect the players and their coaching staff have high aspirations and if they are going to be the best before the season is over, they are going to have to win some more games in the fourth quarter, or even the last play.

2. Gainesville (6-1) Power rating 2.69, Average Points 41.57, Average Allowed 15.43: Gainesville keeps getting better each week as last Friday night they beat 5-2 Monroe Area 41-21.

Gainesville won on the ground 213 yards in 34 attempts (6.2 yards per rush) against Monroe Area's 123 yards on the ground in 38 rushes (3.23 yards per rush).

Gainesville again showed the offensive balance it takes to play at a high level in today's football by gaining 220 yards with their highly-effective passing game.

Deshaun Watson completed 12 of 25 pass attempts and averaged a winning 8.8 yards per pass attempt. Again the Red Elephant defense showed why their swarming style is so tough to move the ball on, holding the Purple Hurricanes to 249 total yards.

Friday night Gainesville visits Walnut Grove (2-5), which is coming off of a win against Johnson 29-14.

3. North Hall (4-3) Power rating 1.38, Average Points 32.71, Average Allowed 23.71: I have watched North Hall every year get better and better each week as the season progresses.

The team playing the Trojans late in the regular season is not playing the same team they would have been playing in week 1 or 2 of the season.

North Hall's blocking is crisper, execution more precise and its defense more disciplined in gap control.

North Hall completely dominated Lumpkin County, rolling up 320 yards on the ground in 30 carries for an average of 10.6 yards per attempt, while the Trojan defense was holding the Indians to 4.7 yards per carry and 162 total yards on the ground.

North Hall intercepted three passes and recovered two fumbles: that's five turnovers recovered by the Trojan defense.

That is defense at the very highest level. If a defense can recover five turnovers, it will win 90 percent of the time, almost regardless of what the offense does.

The Trojans host Franklin County Friday night, a team coming off of a 41-7 win over Chestatee.

4. East Hall (4-3) Power rating 1.36, Average Points 26.29, Average Allowed 22.29: East Hall missed three scoring opportunities early in the game, which may have cost it a chance to win against a good Fannin County football team last Friday.

The Vikings defense couldn't seem to control either against Rebels running back Peyton Satterfield. The Rebels had 308 total yards rushing in 45 rushing attempts for an average of 6.8 yards per rush.

This is compared to East Hall, a good running team, who had 256 total yards rushing in 44 attempts. East Hall visits Dawson County on Friday night in Dawsonville.

5. Chestatee (3-4) Power Rating 0.92, Average Points 27.17, Average Allowed 35: After starting the season with a three-game winning streak, the War Eagles have fallen into a slump. Chestatee lost last Friday to a very good Franklin County, 41-7.

Right now, the War Eagles defense is allowing 35 points per game, which puts them last among Hall County defenses.

Chestatee runs a really good triple-option offense taken right out of the Lou Holtz playbook. Chestatee executes well, but some of the option plays require the quarterback to make some split-second decisions, great for the offense when done well.

However, it also makes a team vulnerable to fumbling the football. Chestatee plays host to White County on Friday night in Gainesville.

6. West Hall (2-5) Power Rating 0.65, Average Points 20.33, Average Allowed 31.33: Last Friday night the Spartans lost a close, hard-fought game to Oconee County, 35-31.

A.J. Stephens had a terrific night scoring all four of the Spartans' touchdowns. West Hall's fine sophomore quarterback Chandler Newton threw for 208 yards and a touchdown.

The Spartans have a productive offense with a good offensive line and some fine skill players. It's their defense which gave up 35 points last Friday that needs to keep improving. West Hall visits Monroe Area on Friday night in Monroe.

7. Johnson (0-7) Power Rating 0.43, Average Points 14.0, Average Allowed 32.57: Johnson's strength is its offensive line and running game, but last Friday were without A.J. Millwood in the backfield.

This was a game that I knew at full strength the Knights would have very likely won.

When you see how tough and competitive their players are it's an easy team to pull for, however, because of lack of depth it's tough even at full strength to defeat teams which have twice as many players suited up for each games.

Johnson visits Oconee County on Friday night in Watkinsville.

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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