Gladiators score shutout in opener at Woodstock

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WOODSTOCK, Ga. – The first game for the Johns Creek Gladiators at the AAAAAA level went about as well as head coach Mike Cloy could expect.

The Gladiators scored a decisive 28-0 season-opening victory last Thursday at Woodstock, a recent playoff qualifier in the state’s highest classification.

“I was really impressed with our defense,” Cloy said, with Johns Creek limiting the Wolverines to just seven first downs and 100 yards of offense.

“I didn’t know how our defensive front would do,” he said. “They’re undersized. But they performed pretty well.”

Woodstock, a run-oriented wing T offense, managed only 77 yards on the ground, averaging barely over two yards per carry, and completed just two of 10 passes for 25 yards.

The Gladiators piled up 300 yards rushing, led by quarterback Skye Overton, who carried 19 times for 152 yards and three touchdowns, including scoring bursts of 50 and 52 yards. Overton completed nine of 19 passes for 95 yards.

Matt Azemar added a 43-yard scoring run for the Gladiators, who also got a combined 97 yards from running backs Chase Solomon and Austin Pack. Solomon had an 80-yard scoring run in the second period nullified by a penalty.

“Offensively, we have a little bit of speed, and that helps,” Cloy said. “We have things to improve on, but it was a very good effort.”

Overton evaded several tackles near the line of scrimmage for a 50-yard scoring run late in the opening period, capping a drive that started inside the Johns Creek 10.

The Gladiators made it 14-0 on their next possession when Azemar went 43 yards on a reverse after Johns Creek started from midfield following a three-and-out forced by the defense.

Johns Creek swept 80 yards in five plays to start the second half, with Overton dashing 52 yards on a keeper through a huge vacant area in the middle of the Woodstock defense.

The Gladiators wrapped up the scoring with a 16-play, 87-yard drive that consumed much of the fourth quarter. Pack carried eight times for all of his 40 yards rushing, and Overton completed three passes for 41 yards before scoring on a three-yard run.

Johns Creek returns to action next Friday at Milton.

“I’ll have a better idea about the team in two weeks after we play Milton,” Cloy said.