Soccer: State stampede – Bulls charge to state tourney

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, April 12, 2017
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Jumping for Joy

JUMPING FOR JOY – Bridgeport’s Jesus Aguilar (10) celebrates his game-winning goal Saturday in the Bulls’ 2-1 win over San Elizario in the 4A Region I final. Bridgeport will take on Progreso in the 4A semifinal Wednesday in Georgetown. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Early in the second half, San Elizario’s Eric Valdez caught Bridgeport keeper Andrew Stotts out of position and had an open goal in front of him for the go-ahead goal.

As the shot bounded toward the goal, Bridgeport’s Eric Aguilar slid in to clear the ball. Nine minutes later, Jesus Aguilar booted in a goal to put Bridgeport on top and on the way to the state tournament with a 2-1 victory over San Elizario in the Class 4A Region I final at Birdville ISD Fine Arts/Athletic Complex.

“I was playing sweeper and my main job is to stay in the back,” said Eric Aguilar. “I saw where he beat him, and I was like that ball can’t go in. I just saved it for my team and the fans.

“It’s amazing,” he said about earning a trip to state. “It’s a great feeling – overwhelming. I’m just glad I get to do it with the people I play with on the field.”

It was the second straight game that Eric Aguilar made a game-saving play on defense to prevent a goal.

“He just embodies our team spirit and attitude – never quit on a game, each other or this community,” said Bridgeport coach Ben Parks.

In the program’s second year, Bridgeport is headed to Georgetown Wednesday to play in the 4A semifinal.

“I just told my boys, ‘next round, why not us?’ And why not?” Parks asked. “There’s nothing stopping us right now.”

With a passionate, maroon-clad faithful chanting throughout the match, the Bulls fought to keep San Elizario at bay. San Elizario controlled possession with its precision passing and outshot Bridgeport 5-3.

Bridgeport’s midfield and backline stymied San Elizario just enough with Stotts making four saves.

“They’ve got a lot of good players. At all 11 positions they are comfortable with the ball,” Parks said. “The way you play against that is with patience. I don’t think we did a good job of that in the first half. But in the second half we settled into the game and found our groove. We weren’t chasing and stayed compact in the midfield. That frustrated them. For all the possession and attacking they only had five or six true shots on goal.”

Bridgeport took advantage of their limited chances. Efrain DeLuna drew a tripping call in the 15th minute just outside the box. Miguel Olmos put the ball in the box on the indirect kick and Eric Aguilar punched inside the far post to put the Bulls up 1-0.

“I just saw the opportunity and had to take it,” Eric Aguilar said.

San Elizario’s Alan Berumen cashed in the equalizer off an assist from Victor Unzueta in the 35th minute.

The score remained tied until the 54th minute when Jesus Aguilar found the back of the net to put Bridgeport on top.

“I saw my partner on the sideline and knew he was going to send it to me,” Jesus Aguilar said. “I shot it and hoped I didn’t miss. I remembered what coach told me to keep my knee over the ball to not kick it over the goal. I placed it, and it happened to go in the goal.”

After the goal, the Bulls had to kill off 26 minutes as San Elizario continued to attack.

“It was the longest 20 minutes of my life,” Jesus Aguilar said. “I just told my teammates we had to stick together. That was only way we could beat this team.”

Bridgeport limited San Elizario to just one shot over the final 20 minutes with the lead. As the clock hit zeroes, the Bulls charged back on the field to celebrate.

“It’s a never say die mentality,” Parks said. “I told the guys at halftime, a boxing match is 12 rounds. We’ve gone through six and they’ve hung with us. But I wasn’t too sure they could hang with us for six more. We won the game and that proved true.”


Bridgeport … 1 … 1 … – … 2
San Elizario … 1 … 0 … – … 1

Goals – Bridgeport, Eric Aguilar (14:19), Jesus Aguilar (53:51); San Elizario, Alan Berumen (24:44).

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