VARNELL — Coahulla Creek High School head boys soccer coach Aurelio Jacobo knew his team wouldn't panic when they fell behind by a goal in their Class 3A state semifinal game against Greater Atlanta Christian on Tuesday.
The Colts had experience in the situation. They came from behind three times in an eventual win on penalty kicks in the Elite 8, so it was no surprise to Jacobo when Coahulla Creek answered that opening goal just three minutes later. The Colts poured on six more goals, besting GAC 6-1 to move on to the Class 3A championship game.
"It wasn't a surprise," Jacobo said. "We fell behind, it happened, but guess what? We go out there and produced those goals. Last game definitely allowed me to have something to talk about. These guys know what it's like to get behind and what they have to do."
The Colts advance to play a familiar face in the finals. Two years ago, Westminster Christian beat Coahulla Creek in the state championship game. That will be the Colts' opponent again this year. The two will square off Thursday at 8 p.m. at Mercer University in Macon.
Manny Arredondo was the Colt who scored that answering goal after GAC was awarded a penalty kick 19 minutes into the game on a trip. Arredondo sent home the first of his two goals to knot the game, then Jaime Mendiola needed just over a minute to quickly put Coahulla Creek ahead for good.
Mendiola's goal beat the GAC keeper deep in the right corner of the net, and that may have exposed a vulnerability to the Colts. Ronaldo Medina put the Colts up 3-1 with a blast to that same spot, then Arredondo's second goal hit the same corner to put Coahulla up 4-1 at halftime.
GAC threatened a few times early in the second half, but a nice poke save from Miguel Arredondo kept the Spartans from starting a rally.
Mendiola scored his second goal of the game with 17 minutes left, then Saul Barcenas finished off the scoring with 10 minutes to go after a Medina cross pass left him wide open in front of an empty net.
"I told them we needed to prove a point for the next round and we did," Jacobo said.
Westminster, which is in the same Region 5-3A of GAC, defeated Oconee County 3-0 Tuesday to reach the final. Westminster beat GAC 2-0 in their meeting this year.
The Colts will make their second appearance in the state championship game in school history.