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.
The seasons that Gwinnett County hasn't boasted a state championship soccer team are few and far between in the last 15 years. But one of them was 2011.
After pitching a shutout on soccer titles last year, the county is in much better shape this spring, particularly in the Class AAAAA boys bracket. Three of the four remaining AAAAA boys teams are from Gwinnett, guaranteeing that one local squad will be in the state finals.
Either second-ranked Collins Hill (16-4) or fourth-ranked Brookwood (17-3) will be in Friday's finals, but first they have to beat the other in a huge Final Four showdown on Tuesday. The Eagles have won nine of their last 10 matches, but the Broncos have been even hotter with 15 victories in their last 16 matches.
On the other side of the bracket, seventh-ranked Parkview (16-3-2) tangles with Centennial, the state title favorite of most, on Tuesday night. Top-ranked Centennial is 19-1-1 and hasn't lost since March 3, a 1-0 loss to Lassiter.
Gwinnett also has two state title chances in the lower classifications, too. The Greater Atlanta Christian boys (14-5-1) host region rival Westminster (15-4-2) on Tuesday in a rematch of last year's Class AA championship game, won by the Wildcats. Meanwhile in Class A, the Providence Christian boys play at Aquinas (15-2-1) on Tuesday. It will be the third straight road playoff game for the Stars (12-8), who won at Savannah Christian in the quarterfinals.
Gwinnett is down to three girls soccer teams remaining in the playoffs and one of those will be eliminated Wednesday night at GAC, where the Spartans host Buford with the winner going to the AA championship game. The region rivals played March 27, when GAC won 5-2 at Buford.
The only local team to survive the AAAAA quarterfinals was Collins Hill, which whipped Lassiter to reach the Final Four. Next up for the Eagles (13-8) is the state's top-ranked team and senior-laden state-title favorite, Milton (20-1), on Wednesday.