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Brookwood, Walton renew rivalry today

If the playoff trend continues, Brookwood boys soccer coach Danny Klinect will be a happy man after tonight's matchup with Walton.

The schools have played two intense playoff matches this decade, and each time the underdog has won. Tonight he views his fourth-ranked Broncos (16-4) as underdogs to No. 3 Walton (14-4) in the Class AAAAA semifinals.

"On paper it seems like they have all the talent," Klinect said of the Raiders, who have six Division I seniors, including Clemson signee Connor Barbaree, Kentucky signee Taylor White and Central Florida signee Cameron Cooksey.

The Bronco seniors remember one of the Brookwood-Walton upsets, a victory on penalty kicks in the 2005 semifinals. Heavily favored Walton peppered the Brookwood net with shot after shot, but after a scoreless regulation and overtime, the Broncos won on PKs.

It was a reversal of the 2002 state championship game, when the Raiders shocked a top-ranked Brookwood team that had been dominant all season.

Another chapter to the rivalry comes tonight. Klinect has been around for just one Brookwood-Walton matchup, a 2-0 Raider victory in the 2007 season opener.

"I can't remember the last time Brookwood has beaten Walton in regulation, I don't know if they ever have," Klinect said. "It's a big rivalry and there are a lot of people who support both programs. There's a great fan base and some of the greatest players in the state are involved."

Should the Broncos advance to this weekend's AAAAA state championship game, they could see another Gwinnett team in the finals. The sixth-ranked Collins Hill boys travel to East Coweta for a Final Four matchup tonight, seeking to extend their 10-game winning streak.

Gwinnett's last remaining team in the AA/A boys playoffs, Providence Christian, also faces a stern road test tonight.

The seventh-ranked Stars play at Walker, which is 19-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state.

SideBar: STATE SOCCER

Semifinal matchups in the state high school soccer playoffs:

Today's games

Class AAAAA boys

7:30 p.m. - Collins Hill at East Coweta

8 p.m. - Walton at Brookwood

Class AA/A boys

7 p.m. - Providence at Walker

Wednesday's games

Class AAAAA girls

7 p.m. - Union Grove at Parkview

Class AA/A girls

6:30 p.m. - Buford at Lovett

7 p.m. - Walker vs. Providence at Shiloh