SPORTS HEADLINES

Decatur upsets Bridgeport, ties Bulls for first in District 3-4A

By Reece Waddell | Published Friday, March 2, 2018.
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The Decatur Eagles came out swinging against rival Bridgeport Friday night.

Just 10 minutes into the match, Edgar Rodriguez scored a well-worked goal from inside the box to give Decatur a 1-0 advantage. After holding a Bulls team that averages 3.8 goals per game scoreless in the first half, the Eagles added a second goal in the 61st minute when Daniel Inguanzo found the back of the net.

Decatur’s defense did the rest.

The Eagles surrendered their only goal of the match when Bridgeport’s Edward Rodriguez hammered home a cross in the 67th minute, but that was the only goal Decatur allowed. With a chance to tie the Bulls for first place in District 3-4A, the Eagles took advantage, knocking off Bridgeport 2-1 at home.

“I knew we could play with Bridgeport from the beginning,” said Decatur coach Christopher Benjamin. “I felt like the guys just needed to see that they could do it, and tonight they [saw] that.”

Despite getting routed 5-0 at the end of February, Decatur dictated pace and controlled possession for most of this match. The Eagles won headers and got several opportunities on goal thanks to meticulous counter-attacks.

Bridgeport coach C.J. Cartwright said Decatur stacked the midfield, which presented some problems for the Bulls especially early on.

“We were really outnumbered in the midfield,” Cartwright said. “We had to make some adjustments to get some more guys in that portion of the field, which helped us. But that’s something we haven’t practiced. The good thing is there’s a lot of things we can fix.”

The Bulls were without top goal scorer Juan Amador and starting defender Gio Martinez, who were both sidelined due to ankle injuries. Cartwright also conceded fatigue may have come into play, as Bridgeport played its third match in five days.

The Bulls had multiple scoring opportunities in the first half, narrowly missing on a goal in the second minute when a header off a cross sailed over the crossbar. A few minutes later, Bridgeport almost equalized on a volley from 25 yards out, but Decatur’s keeper made a diving grab to save a goal.

Several times throughout the match, the Eagles’ back line cleared potentially dangerous balls away to thwart any Bridgeport scoring chance.

“This was actually a really good game for [our defense and midfield],” Rodriguez said.

The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for Bridgeport dating back to January 20. The Bulls are now 15-3 overall and 5-1 in district. They travel to Burkburnett Tuesday.

“It’s a wakeup call,” Cartwright said. “It forces them to realize that we’re going to have to be on our game every game.”

Decatur, meanwhile, improved to 12-9-2 overall. The Eagles are also 5-1 in district and now sit atop the standings with Bridgeport. The two schools meet again on March 20 at Bridgeport in the rubber match of this three-game series.

“I’m confident in our guys,” Benjamin said. “Our record doesn’t show how good this team is. I think tonight we put it all together, and as a result, we got the win.”

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