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Eagles on the mark in 4-1 win

SUWANEE -- Faced with an opponent looking to limit its quality scoring chances, Collins Hill had to pick its spots in its second-round Class AAAAA state playoff game with Luella.

Amiri Abraham chose wisely twice, posting two first-half goals to give the Eagles an early working margin en route to a 4-1 victory Tuesday night at Collins Hill.

The win puts the Eagles (15-4) into the state quarterfinals for the fifth straight year where they will play host to Camden County on Friday.

From the beginning of the game, Luella (11-7) signaled its game plan by packing as many as six-to-eight players on the defensive end, but it didn't take long for for Collins Hill to find space in the defense.

"It's been a while since we've seen that," Collins Hill coach Drew Prentice said. "(Luella) definitely sat back a little bit. But I thought we kept the ball very well. We weren't making too many mistakes in the back.

"Getting goals fairly early in the first half was something we talked about. ... We just wanted to make sure we scored early."

The Eagles had some close calls in the first 10 minutes when Abraham headed a right-wing cross from Jordan Brust just over the crossbar.

Edan Mendoza's long through ball found its way to Emmanuel Raji in the penalty area before Lions goalkeeper Jacob Lunn made the save.

But not quite 10 minutes later, Abraham and the Eagles broke through on a set piece.

Nomis Cisic sent a left-wing corner kick into the penalty area where Abraham headed it home to put Collins Hill in front 1-0 with 30:14 left to play in the first half.

The Eagles had plenty more chances over the rest of the half, and finally struck paydirt again late in the opening frame.

After a Luella defender slipped and accidentally handled the ball in the penalty area, Abraham buried the penalty kick in the upper right 90 to extend the Collins Hill lead to 2-0 with 13:17 left in the half.

About the only offense Luella managed in the half came in the 37th minute, when Andres Cuervo sent a free kick from 35 yards out into the penalty area.

But goalkeeper Zaki Colabawala punched the shot harmlessly out, and the Eagles took the two-goal lead into intermission.

It took a little longer for Collins Hill to add to its lead in the second half, but Zach Jones finally did when he corralled the rebound of Lunn's diving save of Brust's rocket from the 18-yard mark and booted it home to make the score 3-0 with 17:08 remaining.

Hunter Boyle then made it 4-0 by deflecting Edan Mendoza's corner kick with 14:31 left, but Luella kept fighting against the Collins Hill reserves.

Christian Duncan made a long run up the middle and popped the ball over a charging goalkeeper Nick Nelson before tapping the ball into the net with exactly four minutes remaining, but the Eagles still had the game in hand.

"(Collins Hill) is a quality opponent," Luella coach Nick Ellis said. "They've been a quality opponent for the last (five) years. We didn't do anything different from what we've been doing. ... We've got a good group of guys back there trying to flush the ball out and force it to the outside. But they've got some really good finishes and they beat us on a couple of set pieces. ... But the boys really, really played hard."