The Lambert boys soccer team had a number of advantages over Brookwood in Wednesday's state playoff game, which was evident in the Longhorns' 2-0 win.
Height was not one of them.
"We don't have the size, so we had to outwork them," Longhorns head coach Chris Wilson said.
And that emphasis was perfectly encapsulated by Lambert's first goal, just under 20 minutes into the first half. The Longhorns had gotten multiple chances from staged buildups earlier in the match, but this move began with Trey Kirksey booting a ball forward from the back half.
As the ball flew in the air, Lambert striker Hayden Fontana, no taller than 5-foot-10, ran towards its landing spot, as did Brookwood's Teddy Bockhop, who had at least five inches on Fontana. But Fontana saw Bockhop look down, and he sensed an opportunity.
Fontana got to the ball when it landed and touched it forward, through the Broncos' last line of defense. When the goalkeeper came forward, Fontana dodged him as well, darting to the right and putting a shot into the open net.
"Butterflies," Fontana said of beating the keeper. "It never gets old."
The Longhorns had less possession after that, and had to withstand one extended offensive spell from the Broncos in the second half, but Lambert doubled its lead with 15:39 remaining.
That move was started by 6-foot-2 defender Jay Patterson, one of Lambert's taller players: Patterson sent a pass forward for Fontana, who backheeled to Patterson, who ripped a shot that was deflected to Kyler Darsey on the right side of the box. Darsey's strike found the back of the net.
Wilson eschewed a lengthy post-game speech, and the Longhorns didn't need any extra enthusiasm. Junior midfielder Trey Hines, one of the team's captains, worked his way around the players seated in a circle on the turf, excitedly high-fiving each of them.
Lambert (15-4-1) advanced to the state quarterfinals for the second year in a row. They'll face East Coweta, who beat Etowah in penalties, at home on Friday night.