Gladiators open 2012 season with TV

Play at Woodstock

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Johns Creek Gladiators will help kick off the 2012 high school football season, playing Thursday night at Woodstock in a game that will be televised on WSB-TV.

The game begins at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live on WSB’s digital channel, which is available on the Comcast and Charter cable systems. The game will be re-broadcast at 1:05 a.m. Saturday.

“It will be fun, exciting, different,” veteran Johns Creek coach Mike Cloy said of his team’s Thursday night opener. “I think it’s awfully early to be playing, myself. But I’m OK with it.”

The televised game will mark the first at the AAAAAA level for the Gladiators, who tied for first in Region 7-AAAA last season. They lost in the first round of the state playoffs to Flowery Branch on a last-second touchdown pass.

The Gladiators went 9-2 in just their second full season of varsity football, and will be using more players extensively on both offense and defense than most of the teams they will face.

Johns Creek is not especially big up front on either side of the line, and Cloy says that is one of his primary concerns.

The team handily won its scrimmage game last week against Northview, and Cloy said he got the chance to observe “some new kids who should be able to step in and provide depth.”

The Gladiators return almost their entire offense from last year’s playoff team, led by versatile quarterback Skye Overton and speedy tailback Chase Solomon.

Lineman Sam Arrington and linebacker Tommy Welch key a Johns Creek defense that was outstanding last year but has suffered several key graduation losses.

Woodstock went 4-6 last season, losing its last five games, including four straight lopsided defeats to the four playoff teams from Region 5-AAAAA.

The Wolverines went to the playoffs in 2008, ’09 and ’10, but have slipped since they went 10-2 in 2009, the last season for highly regarded head coach Mike O’Brien.

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