SUWANEE - Brookwood boys soccer coach Danny Klinect stressed an important tactic in practice this week - the counterattack.
He wanted his players to answer when Peachtree Ridge pushed forward, responding with an attack of their own. The advice seemed to hit its mark.
The fourth-ranked Broncos scored all four goals on the counterattack Tuesday night in a 4-0 win over No. 5 Peachtree Ridge, advancing to the Class AAAAA quarterfinals. Brookwood (15-4) hosts Paulding County on Friday with a trip to the Final Four on the line.
The visitors had a few scary moments in the early going when Peachtree Ridge nearly scored, but the defense did its customary job in the shutout.
"I thought we really dictated our style in the second half," Klinect said. "I'm proud of our boys and their effort, especially in the second half. This was probably our best win all year."
Peachtree Ridge forward Andrew Green caused the Broncos problems in the first half, setting up two excellent opportunities that teammates couldn't finish off.
The Lions (11-6) were still looking for the game's first goal when Brookwood broke out the counterattack, courtesy of Joey Deloney. Deloney made a 45-yard run down the middle of the field, leading a run down the field with three teammates.
With options on both sides, the Bronco junior saw that Lion goalkeeper Tyler Young was off his line, so he chipped a shot over Young's head. The goalie got a piece of the shot, but not enough to stop it from finding the net in the 31st minute.
"We worked hard this week in practice on utilizing our strengths and we're a counterattacking team," Klinect said.
Instead of going in tied after a close first half, the host Lions were down a goal.
"I thought our kids played hard, especially in the first half," Peachtree Ridge coach Bill Holleman said. "I thought we dominated the first half."
That wasn't the case in the second half.
The Broncos' defense was stout, setting up three more counterattack goals by John Yang, Theo Yang and Ryan Christopher. The Yang brothers also each had a second-half assist.
The first goal was created all by John Yang, who saved a ball on the left sideline, cut inside and slipped a low shot in for a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute.
He then set up Theo Yang's goal in the 65th minute and Christopher added his goal in the 79th minute.
That was plenty of offense for a Brookwood defense that recorded its 10th shutout of the season and fourth in the past five games. The unit has allowed only 13 goals in 19 matches.
Jamie Deal saved all four shots on goal he faced and his teammates put 12 on goal at the other end of the field. Ben Grassmyer, Brice Eidson, Chris Goldsmith and Trevor Watson aided the defensive effort that was highlighted by the play of freshman Walker Zimmerman.
Zimmerman, who has only seen action in five varsity games, played the entire second half marking the Lions' offensive star, Green, after Klinect made a defensive change to slow down the Peachtree Ridge speedster.
A back for the U.S. Under-15 National Team, Zimmerman was up to the task.
"I told (Zimmerman) your job is to man-mark (Green)," Klinect said. "I told him I don't care if he's inside his own 18-(yard line), you go with him."
Peachtree Ridge failed to get any real scoring chances in the second half, seeing its season end in the same round it did last season.
But the Lions, in their fifth season, accomplished plenty this season, including winning their first Region 7-AAAAA title.
"Our seniors provided great leadership and I thought everybody played hard," Holleman said. "We had 11 wins and winning the first region championship is big for these kids. It's big for our school."