Staff Photo: John Bohn Collins Hill's Freddie Maier (6) heads the ball while defended by Camden County's Grant Gabriel (7) during the first half of a boys soccer quarterfinal Class AAAAA playoff game Friday. Collins Hill defeated Camden County 5-1.
SUWANEE --Frustration built for an entire half, then carried into halftime Friday night for Collins Hill.
The second-ranked Eagles weren't happy that they missed some first-half chances and that they gave up a fluky goal, but they were even less pleased to be tied with unranked Camden County in the Class AAAAA boys soccer quarterfinals.
Those feelings went away pretty quickly after halftime, though.
Collins Hill scored 40 seconds into the second half and kept the pressure on to reach its fifth straight Final Four with a 5-1 victory over Camden, which saw its 13-game winning streak stopped.
"I just thought, 'Here comes Collins Hill soccer,'" senior Nomis Cisic, who scored the second half's first two goals, said of the second-half surge. "That's how we can play. I feel bad for whoever we play when we play like that."
Collins Hill, which plays at Brookwood in Tuesday's semifinals, got its first second-half goal when Jordan Brust lifted a long cross from the right side past the far post. It found the head of Emmanuel Raji and he directed it to Cisic, whose header put the hosts up for good.
In the 55th minute, Cisic ripped a perfect volley from 25 yards out to the upper corner for a 3-1 lead. Raji's cross barely more than three minutes later resulted in a Camden own goal, and Fabrice Momo added the fifth goal off a Carlos Estrada assist.
The early second-half strikes also effectively put away Camden (14-2) before it gained more confidence.
"That was definitely huge (to score early in the second half)," Collins Hill boys coach Drew Prentice said. "You don't want to let them think they're still in the game. That gets you in trouble."
Collins Hill took the match's early momentum, too, with a goal in the seventh minute. Amiri Abraham sent a nice pass forward from the right side that Brust slipped past the Wildcats' goalkeeper for a quick 1-0 lead.
Disaster struck in the 13th minute for the Eagles, though.
Camden's Keith Pecko took a hard shot from 25 yards out and an Eagle defender stretched his leg to stop. Instead, he deflected the shot and it spun away from helpless Collins Hill keeper Jackson Taylor, who was in line to stop the shot before its deflection.
"We got unlucky on that one," Prentice said.
The Eagles missed on chances to answer back in the first half, but they didn't in the second half.
"The guys just realized that we needed to relax and play like we did the first 10 minutes of the game," said Cisic, a Clayton State signee.
Collins Hill now turns its attention to the semifinals, where it's been so successful the previous four seasons. The Eagles have played in the last four state championship games, winning twice.