Brookwood held off a last-ditch effort from John Milledge over the final ten minutes to secure a 3-1 victory in the first round of the GISA state playoffs.
The Trojans scored their first goal with 7:30 remaining and had three near attempts after, which prompted Brookwood coach Brett Phillips to re-sub four starters to close the game.
“I think it was a combination of guys getting tired and playing some back-ups, who I wanted to play so they could get a feel for a playoff environment,” Phillips said. “I think a lot of it also had to deal with playing out in the sun and guys getting worn down. Most of our games are typically played later in the day.”
Brookwood drew first blood when Preston Young scored 25 minutes into the first half. Jack Howard followed with a goal four minutes later on an assist from Young, his first of two on the afternoon.
The Warriors took a 2-0 lead into the half, then sporadically traded possessions for the bulk of the final period before Neel Gurley notched Brookwood’s final goal in the 61st minute.
“He’s a very instinctual player,” Phillips said of Gurley. “He was strong enough to hold off the defense and get that final goal, which was pivotal for us to hold off [John Milledge] when they made their charge.”
Play was a tad chippy during the last leg, but nothing more than expected in a playoff game, Phillips said. No players drew ejection fouls and there were no injuries.
Brookwood now eyes the second round of the state playoffs, and will travel to Atlanta-based Holy Spirit Prep for a game next Monday or Tuesday. Phillips noted that no date has been slated, but indicated the game would be early next week.
Howard, a senior and team captain, said the minimum four-day hiatus should give the Warriors ample time to tweak their the late game miscues and gameplan for Holy Spirit.