Bridgeport downs Stephenville, advances to regional tournament

By Reece Waddell | Published Friday, April 6, 2018.
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In the 33rd minute of Friday’s 4A Region I regional quarterfinal, Jesus Aguilar held off his defender and dribbled into the box. Maneuvering into a bitter wind that gusted as high as 25 mph at times, Aguilar rocketed a shot into the roof of the goal that froze Stephenville’s keeper.

As the ball whizzed into the net, Aguilar bolted down the sideline and embraced his teammates, pumping up the Bridgeport faithful. The offensive onslaught had just begun. 

Aguilar found the back of the net again in the 60th minute when he went around a Yellowjacket defender and juked the keeper, burying a shot into the wide-open net. The Bulls added two more second half goals from Miguel Olmos and Milton Iniguez to seal the deal, cruising to a 4-1 victory over Stephenville at Aledo.

“[Aguilar] is playing on another level right now,” said Bridgeport coach C.J. Cartwright. “He had a big-time goal in that first half. The kid works his butt off and he’s humble. I couldn’t be happier for him.”

With the win, Bridgeport advances to the 4A regional semifinal. They will take on Midlothian Heritage at 4 p.m. next Friday at Birdville ISD’s Fine Arts and Athletic Complex. It is the second consecutive year the Bulls have made it to the regional tournament.

Bridgeport also avenged one of its three regular season losses, as Stephenville beat the Bulls 2-1 on Jan. 19.

“This was a big one for us just because we have a loss to those guys,” Cartwright said. “It was time to not just prove to them but prove to ourselves who we are. I’m glad the results showed that tonight. We’ve been putting in the work, and whenever it pays off like this it’s a plus.” 

Bridgeport took a 1-0 lead into halftime after Aguilar’s first goal in the 33rd minute. Cartwright said he adjusted to a more attacking 4-3-3 formation at the intermission to capitalize going away from the wind.

The Bulls quickly took advantage and dominated possession in the midfield. Bridgeport had several opportunities on goal in the opening minutes of the second half, and finally broke through when Olmos scored in the 49th minute.

He unleashed a shot from 15 yards out that found its way to the bottom corner of the net for a goal.

“[Changing formations] helped a lot,” Aguilar said. “The 4-3-3 is probably our best formation. We worked well with it.”

Bridgeport added its final goal in the 77th minute when Iniguez finished a well-worked chance inside the box. Stephenville’s keeper managed to get a hand to it but was unable to keep the shot out.

The Bulls improved to 20-3-1 overall this season with the victory. Bridgeport has won its three playoff matches by a combined score of 15-2.

“We were very hungry,” Aguilar said. “We practiced our butts off every single day. We wanted this win.

“Our main goal [is] to go to state again after the heartbreaking loss [last year]. I think we can go back and we’re proving it.”

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