PLANTATION -- The Palmetto Tigers are still searching for that breakthrough victory at the state tournament.
Plantation American Heritage speedy forward Jamar Campion-Hinds scored two early goals, allowing his team to weather late-match pressure from visiting Palmetto for a 3-1 victory in Friday's Class 3A semifinals.
Heritage (23-3-2) will vie for a second consecutive state title when it faces Ponte Vedra at Melbourne on Feb. 16.
The Tigers ended their season at 25-2-3. It was Palmetto's third trip to a state semifinal and its third consecutive loss. They fell 2-0 in 2009 to eventual state champion Merritt Island and dropped a 1-0 decision on penalty kicks to Jacksonville Stanton in 2010.
Campion-Hinds, an FIU signee, scored in the 14th minute on Heritage's second shot of the match when he took a pass from Christopher Mealer and streaked at least 20 yards to easily beat a defender on his right ring; his shot deflected off goalkeeper Daniel Martinez for the one-goal lead.
Campion-Hinds scored again 23 minutes later off a Palmetto turnover deep in the Tigers defensive zone for the 2-0 halftime lead.
Despite the Patriots' lead at intermission, both teams had six shots on goals, but Palmetto clearly had most of the possession at Heritage's half of the field.
The quality scoring chance came only once when Tigers' striker Pedro Calvillo missed an unchallenged shot from 6 yards out, rolling a yard wide past the right pole.
In the second half, Palmetto had its first opportunity in the 62nd minute when Tigers' striker Hunter Brown took a rolling cross from the right wing, but his shot in front of the goal was stopped by a charging Djman Suarezto help preserve the two-goal lead.
Suarez, a senior, was finally beaten in the 71st minute when Gregorio Calvillo,
Palmetto's leading scorer, trapped a throw-in and struck the ball into the net to give the visitors new life, with Heritage left clinging to a 2-1 lead.
The Patriots fought off relentless pressure at their own zone before a breakaway resulted in a red-card charged to Palmetto goalkeeper Martinez against Campion-Hinds inside the penalty box. Heritage capitalized when Samuel Vinson converted the penalty kick for the final margain.
The Tigers played a player short for the final two-and-a-half minute of the match.
"Experience goes a long way," Jobson said. "Even with the pressure on us, we didn't panic. Our senior defenders (Donald Tomlison and Daniel Klumpp) stepped up and the young defenders (underclassmen Philip Delvaille, Donovan Henry, and freshman Devon Nothard) grew up."