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Soccer: Magical run – Bulls 4A state runner-up in overtime battle

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, April 15, 2017
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Tough Finish

TOUGH FINISH – Eric Aguilar walks off the field Friday as Kilgore players celebrate their state title win. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Falling behind by two goals in the first 12 minutes and then being outshot for the game 25-10, the Bridgeport Bulls refused to buckle.

After erasing the early deficit, the Bulls fought through 100 minutes in the searing sun at Georgetown’s Birkelbach Field to get the 4A title game deadlocked at 2 to a shootout.

FLYING HIGH – Eric Aguilar heads the ball during the championship game Friday in Georgetown. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Junior defender Eric Aguilar, who made a game-saving clear at the line in the second overtime period and saved the Bulls’ season twice at the region tournament, took over in goal for the Bulls. Aguilar got his hands on the ball on the first attempt before it trickled past him.

After the game’s MVP Kaleb Jett making a pair of stops, Raul Cedillo found the net for the fourth goal of the shootout and Kilgore captured the 4A crown, 3-2 (4-2 on penalty kicks).

“We battled back and we gave every last drop and every last ounce of our energy and fight,” said Bridgeport coach Ben Parks. “We love sports because some times the other team can win even when you do everything you can. Not to necessarily say they were better than us. That’s just how the game goes. Credit to them. Kilgore is a heck of a team and they fully deserve the title they have.”

The Bulls’ magical run in just the program’s second season ended at 19-3-5 with the team accepting the runner-up trophy.

“It’s amazing in the second year we’re here,” said Bridgeport junior midfielder Miguel Olmos. “This whole year no matter what happened we kept our heads up and kept moving forward.

“It’s an amazing year and I can’t wait for next year. We’ll be back next year.”

Kilgore put Bridgeport under siege from the start. Wanya McIntyre’s header gave Kilgore a lead just eight minutes in. Just four minutes later, Elian Torres made it 2-0.

INTENSE ACTION – Jesus Aguilar tries to steal the ball from a Kilgore player. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Juan Amador spurred the Bulls’ comeback, drawing a penalty that Olmos converted into a goal on a penalty kick in the 25th minute. Four minutes later on a long pass ahead from Jesus Aguilar, Amador knotted the game, beating Jett to the left.

The game stayed tied for the next 71 anxious minutes. Bridgeport managed only four shots over the second half and two 10-minute overtimes.

Kilgore’s Yonaton Contrereas, Torres and McIntyre kept applying the pressure. They combined for 16 of Kilgore’s 21 shots.

With 3:30 left in the second overtime, McIntyre got a point blank shot after beating Bridgeport keeper Andrew Stotts. As the ball approached the line, Eric Aguilar went completely horizontal to make a clear and keep the game tied.

Playing goalie for the first time in the postseason for Bridgeport, Aguilar made a solid effort on the first attempt by Contreras.

“I just chose a side and hoped for the best,” he said.

Amador and Milton Iniguez converted the first two attempts to keep pace.

Jett then stoned Jose Martinez’ shot to give Kilgore an opening to take the lead that Jesus Gonzalez capitalized on.

Jett then stopped Aguilar to give Cedillo the chance to clinch the title.

“Going to penalty kicks, I didn’t know what would happen. But I felt we had and an advantage because we work on them every day,” Jett said.

“I knew I had it after the first stop, I had this.”

Cedillo put the ball to the right Aguilar to set off the celebration for Kilgore.

“Penalty kicks are tough. The super-skilled [goalies] can play them. The vast 99 percent of them you have to pick a side and jump to that post,” Parks said. “[Eric] guessed right a couple of times and they took some really good penalties and put them wide where he couldn’t get to. Credit to them. They did a great job.”

Bridgeport will return all but three players next year – seniors Erik Prado, Efrain DeLuna and Jose Martinez.

“I’m happy with how far we got just starting out,” Aguilar said. “To do it with these group of kids is amazing. It’s a beautiful feeling to play on the field with them.”

GOING UP – Efrain DeLuna makes contact with a Kilgore player while jumping for the ball. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

KILGORE 3, BRIDGEPORT 2 PK

Bridgeport … 2 … 0 … 0 … 0 … 0 … – … 2
Kilgore … 2 … 0 … 0 … 0 … 1 … – … 3

SCORING SUMMARY

Kilgore – 8:54, Wanya McIntyre (Jovany Gonzales assist)

Kilgore – 12:44, Elian Torres

Bridgeport – 25:53, Miguel Olmos, penalty kick

Bridgeport – 29:01, Juan Amador (Jesus Aguilar assist)

Kilgore – 100:00, Raul Cedillo, shootout

SHOOTOUT

Bridgeport – Juan Amador Y, Milton Iniguez Y, Jose Martinez X, Eric Aguilar X

Kilgore – Yonaton Contreras Y, Elian Tores Y, Jesus Gonzalez Y, Raul Cedillo Y

Saves – Bridgeport, Andrew Stotts 4; Kilgore, Kaleb Jett 4

Corners – Bridgeport 6, Kilgore 8

Fouls – Bridgeport 6, Kilgore 13

Second in State

SECOND IN STATE – Bridgeport soccer players, saddened by their state-final loss, sport silver medals as the 4A runners-up. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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