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Top-ranked Centennial ousts Parkview boys

ROSWELL -- Centennial showed Tuesday night why it is the top-ranked team in Class AAAAA boys soccer as the Knights rolled to an impressive 5-1 win over No.4 Parkview in the semifinals of the state playoffs at The Fortress.

Centennial, seeking its first state title, will move on to the championship match on Friday when it plays at Collins Hill. Centennial (20-1-1) also won for the 13th straight time after a 2-2 tie with Habersham Central on March 20. The Knights haven't lost since a 1-0 decision to Lassiter on March 3.

For Centennial, it was a matter of executing across the board as the Knights were solid on set plays offensively and steady on defense when needed.

"We go over concepts," said Centennial head coach Phil Thomas, a 1996 Parkview graduate. "But what these kids need to learn is to create opportunities in front of the goal. So we go over that and work on set pieces. There are some rules and ideas that we work on, but then I sort of let them do their thing. We definitely want to challenge other teams and I was a (goal) keeper when I played, so I see things a little differently than maybe others."

Parkview, seeking its first state title since 2005, watched its season come to a close at 16-4-2.

The Panthers had won 15 of their last 16, the lone defeat during that stretch coming on April 20 at Brookwood by a 1-0 score.

"(Centennial) is a team that we've known all along and no team has really stopped them, especially in the playoffs," said Parkview head coach Michael Tolmich. "We worked hard in practice, but they beat us on the set pieces -- the throw-ins and corner kicks.

"We didn't follow through with what we worked on. We gave up too many goals early to be effective and give ourselves a chance. Then we started pushing and doing things that hurt us."

Centennial wasted no time taking a lead it would never relinquish.

Fischer Olliff scored from close range after Cameron Bean set him up with a terrific pass on a header to make it 1-0 Knights with 34:46 to go in the first half.

Centennial came right back and scored at 29:48 when Kane Davis headed in a goal to increase the lead to 2-0. Davis' goal came on another impressive header pass from Connor Davis.

Centennial completed the three-goal rush in the first half with a goal from Bean on a header at 20:33.

Bean's goal came on a throw-in from Ryan Spence, who repeatedly set up Centennial players on scoring chances with long and accurate tosses from the sideline.

Centennial continued the scoring frenzy in the second half when a pair of North Georgia signees paired up to give the Knights a 4-0 lead.

Amin El-Shami fed Connor Davis from the right corner and Davis connected on a header to give the Knights a 4-0 lead with 31:25 remaining.

Parkview finally got on the scoreboard when Jonathon Jarrett connected on a penalty kick at 28:22 following a foul by Centennial.

Centennial put the finishing touches on its five-goal outburst when Sebastian Guzman picked up a loose ball in front of the Parkview net and scored to make it 5-1 with 8:50 left.

Centennial has now scored 81 goals on the season against just 15 allowed.

For Parkview, it was a season that produced a great run all the way to the state semifinals, but ends one win shy of playing for a title.

"I'm still proud of the boys for the season we had," said Tolmich. "It's hard to realize that now, because our guys want to be playing on Friday night, too. But Centennial's a good team and they deserve to be there."