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Early goal lifts Bronco boys past Panthers

SNELLVILLE - Solid defense and superb goalkeeping made sure only one goal was scored in Friday night's Brookwood-Parkview boys soccer match, and even the lone tally had trouble getting in.

Stephen George's shot in the fifth minute barely spun its way over the line, but it was good enough for the fourth-ranked Broncos in a 1-0 win in front of roughly 1,500 fans at Brookwood Community Stadium. The victory was the first in the rivalry series for first-year head boys coach Danny Klinect, and it locked up the Region 8-AAAAA title for Brookwood.

"That was our goal at the beginning of the year, to go 7-0 and get that (region title)," Klinect said. "As a coach all you can ask for is your kids to give 110 percent and they did that tonight. They've been doing that all year. People doubted us early in the year and called us overrated, but we beat a doggone good team tonight.

"And to go 7-0 in our region with the kind of competition we have, that's pretty impressive."

The Broncos, who host Collins Hill on Wednesday in the first round of the state playoffs, peppered Parkview goalkeeper Josh Veal with shots all night. But the senior turned back all but one of the Brookwood shots with 10 saves, many of the superb variety.

The only one that the hosts slipped through came early, when Dave Maity set up his fellow captain, George.

Maity battled through two defenders in the left corner, making a nice touch past the second one. He then slipped a cross to a cutting George, who fired a shot off Veal that spun its way across the line, ever so slowly.

"Dave was just being strong in the corner, he fought off a couple of guys," George said. "I was making a run from the back post trying to cut in front of a couple of defenders and get to the ball before they did. I was just lucky I got enough spin on it. It hit off Veal, who played amazing, absolutely amazing.

"It spun off him. There were a couple of seconds there where I didn't think it was going to go in. It was like slow motion."

The only goal of the night was plenty for the Brookwood defense and goalkeeper Andrew Adams, who made a pair of tremendous saves himself. Adams' biggest save was a leaping grab of a powerful shot by Parkview's Jose De Lima in the 67th minute.

The Broncos (13-3-1) also got strong defensive play from Wes Manyak, Nathan McKeever, Joey Deloney and Chase Hamann to hold off some late charges by the Panthers (10-7-1), who open the state playoffs Wednesday at home vs. Duluth.

Even in defeat, Veal thrilled the fans with a handful of phenomenal saves. He faced eight Bronco shots on goal in the first half alone, and turned back seven.

But the one that got through, even if it wasn't with authority, was the difference.

"We emphasized that in the pre-game, how important it is to come out against a good team and try to get an early goal," Klinect said. "We got that, but we missed some chances, too. And Josh Veal played a great game. He and (Adams) both were great."