Photo: Craig Cappy Brookwood'ss Malik Jalal (19) battles for the ball against Lassiter defender Christian Johnson (17) during Friday's game at Brookwood.
SNELLVILLE -- The final 15 or so minutes of the Class AAAAA state quarterfinal match between Brookwood and Lassiter seemed more like a track meet than a soccer match.
The No. 4 state-ranked Broncos had a little more of a finishing kick, with Malik Jalal and Adrian Alabi each scoring inside the final seven minutes to break a tie and lift Brookwood past the fourth-ranked Trojans 4-2 Friday night at Brookwood Community Stadium.
The two goals came less than four minutes after Will Robinson had pulled Lassiter even at 2-2, capping a frantic second half that saw five goals and five yellow cards.
"They do it all the time," Brookwood coach Danny Klinect said after his team advanced to next week's state semifinal, where they will play host to Collins Hill. "Whenever they've been down, they've fought back. They've never quit. That's what I told them at halftime. There's no need to panic. We've been there, done that."
Indeed, there was no panic in the Broncos (17-3) despite a 1-0 halftime deficit after Shaban Abousaud finished a nifty through ball by Robinson early the opening frame.
And just under seven minutes into the second half, the Broncos received a break when a Lassiter (17-3-1) was called for handling a bouncing ball that had been sent on a long pass into a pile up in the penalty area.
Trevor Mooney scored on the ensuing penalty kick inside the back post, pulling Brookwood even at 1-1 with 33:12 left in regulation.
But that was only the beginning of the second half wild ride.
The next salvo was fired with 17:41 to play, just minutes after Brahan Gamarra had sent a laser sailing barely over the crossbar from just outside the top of the 23-yard arc.
The sophomore got another chance when Bryson Dorsey's long throw-in from the right wing was deflected out from another pile-up in the penalty area, and came to rest at nearly the identical spot.
This time, Gamarra sent his shot lower, though Trojans goalkeeper Jon Stoll looked like he had a bead on it when the ball took a hop off the turf and bounced over him and into the net, putting Brookwood back on top 2-1.
But like the Broncos, Lassiter refused to quit and got its chance after Mooney missed a chance to ice the game by sending another penalty kick wide of the near post with 15:13 left.
Robinson took advantage of the reprieve with an outstanding individual effort to win a bouncing ball just outside the 18-yard mark before spinning to his right and sending a shot inside the back post, pulling the Trojans even at 2-2 with only 10:15 remaining.
"Will is big time," Lassiter coach Billy Pritz said. "He came up big for us in the Milton game in the first round. I never lost faith in any of the guys. It was just a rough way to end it for the seniors."
Brookwood would make it rough for the Trojans by using long passes to score the decisive two goals.
First, Dawson sent a long ball down the right wing that sent Jalal one-on-one with a Lassiter defender.
The senior beat his man just outside the 18, which brought Stoll charing off his line in an attempt to smother the ball before Jalal could set and fire.
But Jalal got just enough on his shot to sending slowly towards the net before trickling inside the back post to put the Broncos up 3-2 with 6:36 left, and sending the Brookwood partisans among the large and boisterous crowd into celebration.
"(Stoll and a defender) were on top of me, and I was just lying back (on the ground) and watching it curving (towards the net)," Jalal said. "It was a great feeling when I saw it go in."
The Broncos and their fans got an even better feeling just over two and a half minutes later with Lassiter forced to push forward into attack mode.
Kelson Brunelle got to a loose ball and beat the last Trojan defender back to start a near end-to-end rush before passing off the to a wide-open Alabi when Stoll was forced off his line again.
And Alabi buried the game-clinching goal to make the score 4-2 with 3:53 left.