Bridgeport claims third straight district title

By Reece Waddell | Published Tuesday, March 20, 2018.
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Bridgeport’s motto entering Tuesday’s tilt with rival Decatur was “earn the win.” With a chance to repeat as district champions, Bulls coach C.J. Cartwright put his team through a series of rigorous workouts in the week leading up to the regular season league finale.

The work paid off — and Bridgeport earned more than just a victory. 

Behind four first half goals and a hat trick from forward Juan Amador, the Bulls claimed their third consecutive district title, downing the Eagles 5-1.

“When we came out here tonight we had no doubt in our mind we had earned the right to win this game,” Cartwright said. “The opponent was faceless. It didn’t matter who it was. They went out there and earned it and played their butts off.”

Bridgeport scored three goals in the first 30 minutes, peppering Decatur with shots. The Bulls capitalized on counter-attack opportunities and used well-worked chances to find the back of the net.

In the 32nd minute, Amador bicycle kicked a deflection off a corner for a goal. Amador’s first goal came when a shot from Jesus Aguilar sailed over the Eagles’ keeper and the defender failed to clear his line.

“The defender missed and I was like ‘There it is,'” Amador said. “I just ran to it and pounded in the rebound.”

Edward Rodriguez and Aguilar had Bridgeport’s other two goals. The Bulls only scored once in the second half on a breakaway.

For the first 35 minutes of the second half, Decatur held Bridgeport at bay. The Eagles fended off a flurry of scoring chances with timely saves from their keeper and critical stops by their back line.

Decatur coach Christopher Benjamin said the Eagles were without several players Tuesday due to injury, illness or ineligibility. As a result, he was forced to shuffle Decatur’s lineup, which he believed hurt them in the first half.

“The first half was on me,” Benjamin said. “My boys played great. I’m very proud of the way my boys played. I moved some guys around because we are missing some players. I’m proud of the way they played that second half.”

If the Eagles would have won or tied, they would have won their first district title in school history. With the loss, Decatur will be the No. 2 seed out of District 3-4A, and will take on either Stephenville or Mineral Wells in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

The Eagles won their first playoff game in school history last year, beating Mineral Wells 4-0. Decatur went on to defeat Pampa in the area round before falling to San Elizario in the regional quarterfinal.

Bridgeport will face Brownwood in the bi-district round for the second straight year. The Bulls beat the Lions 5-1 last season.

“It’s the next chapter,” Cartwright said. “It’s really just beginning now.”

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