POWDER SPRINGS — Johnson’s bid for a second Class 5A state title came to a disappointing end on Thursday.
McIntosh senior Pete Millians scored twice in the final 13 minutes to erase an ealy Johnson lead en route to a 2-1 victory in the state championship match at McEachern High School.
Millians got a rebound goal with 13:16 left in the second half and then broke the Knights hearts with a blast past keeper Steven Flores with just 1:13 left for the game-winner.
Johnson (16-5-1) had taken a 1-0 lead in the first half on a Christian Robles goal and then played a near-flawless defensive game the rest of the way.
But McIntosh (22-1) put relentless pressure on the Knights, who were playing just two days after playing 100 minutes and then penalty kicks in the semifinals. The Johnson defense eventually wore down over the final third of the match as the Chiefs produced nearly a half-dozen legitimate scoring chances.
Johnson’s scoring extraordinaire Jorge Sandoval, who had a pair of goals in the semifinals, was held in check by the McIntosh defense as he only managed two real scoring chances.
It was a fast-paced start to the match as the Chiefs produced two quick runs into the Knights zone in the opening minute. But the Johnson defense was able to block a pair of potential shots.
After a midfield battle for the next two minutes the Knights got their first shot from Robles in the 7th minute but could not find the net.
McIntosh got the first corner in the 9th minute but did not produce a shot. The Chiefs got a free kick from 50-yards a minute later but a nifty header sailed just high.
Johnson used that to counter down the left side and eventually was awarded a free kick from 16-yards. Angel Sagrero ripped a blast into the zone and Robles found a clear shot from 8-yards that found its way to the net for a 1-0 Knights lead with 28:35 left in the first half.
The two teams have now combined to win the last four Class 5A titles. The Chiefs won in 2017, 2019, and now 2021. Johnson won the 2018 title.
NOTES: Johnson did not allow more than three goals in any match this season and had only given up 6 goals in the playoffs coming into the finals. ... McIntosh improved to 8-1 in one-goal games in 2021. ... The Knights were just 5-5 in one-goal games in 2021.