The Johns Creek Gladiators came to the Eagles Nest Stadium of Milton High School with a defensive game plan that worked, but punter Will Sommers fake kick was a game changer.
Sommers ran 27 yards for a key first down that kept a Gladiators scoring drive alive.
The punter wasn't too bad in his regular duties. He punted 5 times for 248 yards. That's a 49.6-yard average. His longest was 63 yards. He was singled out for specialty team honors for his performance.
After Gladiators quarterback Skye Overton was sacked in the end zone for a safety by the Eagles Jerrell Knight, it didn't look too good for the visitors. And when the Eagles followed up on the ensuing kickoff with a touchdown by Peyton Barber and PAT by C. Mills, the Gladiators trailed 9-0.
However, after that the Johns Creek defense shut down the Milton offense. The Eagles only managed 71 net yards rushing and 68 net yards passing for 139 total offensive yards.
Zack Disher led the defense with 10 tackles – one of them preventing a sure TD – and 1 sack.
The Gladiators didn't do too much better on the ground with just 93 net yards rushing. But Skye Overton's passing netted Johns Creek 222 yards in the air. He also had 58 of the teams net rushing yards, as he was able to spot open field when his receivers were too well covered.
Six Gladiators had receptions in the game, led by Chase Solomon's 3 receptions for 116 yards, including a 64-yard TD catch. Brandon Fortin had 4 catches for 61 yards. Other Gladiators with receptions were: Ben Deck (2), Turner Fortin, Todd Blackwell and Cody Hardage.
Johns Creek nearly shut down Milton's passing game. The Eagles starting quarterback, A.J. Bush, was 7-12 for 68 yards. Backup A.J. Noegel was 0-2 on the night.
The Gladiators biggest weakness on the night seemed to be penalties. The team collected 15 penalties for 129 yards, while the Eagles picked up 4 for 31 yards.
The players of the game, according to the Johns Creek Gladiators website, were:
OFFENSE - SKYE OVERTON Another great performance from Skye. Skye was 13 for 19 passing for 222 yards and 1 TD, he had 58 yards rushing and 1 TD.
DEFENSE - ZACH DISHER Zach had an excellent game. He finished the game with 10 tackles, 3 for a loss, 1 sack and 1 TD saving tackle.
SPECIALTY TEAM - WILL SOMMERS Will was instrumental in the Gladiators victory. Will punted 5 times averaging 49.6 yards per punt, he also had one run for 27 yards that gave the Gladiators a critical first down.
Johns Creek next plays the Roswell Hornets at home on Friday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m.