The Wolverines saw quarterback Justin Agner suffer an apparent injury to his left leg near the end of the game-opening drive. Agner continued the drive, noticeably limping, and Deante Robinson went on to score on a 1-yard run.
Agner, who was 5-for-6 passing for 64 yards on the drive, left the game and did not return.
Alex Motsinger finished the game at quarterback, completing 12 of 18 attempts for 111 yards. He also carried the ball seven times for 21 yards, scoring touchdowns on runs of 12 and 2 yards.
Woodstock coach Brent Budde said Agner’s injury was the latest in a series the Wolverines have suffered in the last three days.
Other players forced to play out of position included Nick Cable, who moved from tight end to left tackle, and Will Stumpf, who moved from linebacker to defensive tackle, while Garrett Atkinson, entered as a receiver.
“A lot of guys came in and did what their teammates needed them to do,” Budde said. “That’s what stands out to me.”
Woodstock blocked a field-goal attempt and took possession of the ball on the Johns Creek 40 to start its next drive. Motsinger moved the ball effectively and ended the drive by scoring on a 12-yard run.
The point-after by Javier Zavala made it 14-0 with 3:03 left in the third.
On Woodstock’s third drive of the game, Motsinger found Brendan Carroll in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass and the 21-0 lead.
Johns Creek finally got on the board with less than a minute left in the first half. Taking advantage of a 15-yard penalty against Woodstock, the Gladiators scored on an 8-yard pass from Kevin Nalecz to Cody Hardage.
After a scoreless third, Jelani
Regan intercepted a pass attempt by Nalecz and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown.
Motsinger added a 2-yard touchdown run with 1:55 left in the game, for the 34-6 final score.
Robinson led the Wolverines in rushing, carrying the ball 12 times for 98 yards, though he fumbled twice. Donavon Brand added 84 yards on 20 carries and caught five passes for 32 yards.
Atkinson led all Woodstock receivers with 59 yards on three catches, while Reagan Amos caught four passes for 41 yards.
Going into the game, Budde said defense would be key.
“Our defense played strong,” he said. “They did a great job and played a really solid ballgame.”
The Gladiators used three different quarterbacks who combined to finish the night 11-for-26 for 156 yards and four interceptions. Woodstock’s Chris Mowery intercepted two passes and Eric Monroe intercepted another.
Though they won, the Wolverines left quite a few points on the field — something that wasn’t lost on Budde.
“To tell you the truth, I thought we would put a lot more points on the board,” he said.
Woodstock fumbled inside the Gladiators 5-yard line a two occasions.
A statement win to open the season could go a long way for the Wolverines, who finished the 2012 campaign 3-7. It was a season that began in reverse fashion — with a 28-0 loss to Johns Creek — as it did Friday.
“We will build on it and get confidence off it,” Budde said. “We will celebrate this one (Friday night) and then we have to go back to work (today) and Sunday.”