Soccer: Answering the bell – Bulls score four second-half goals, advance to region finals

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, April 18, 2018
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Pumped Up

PUMPED UP – Bridgeport’s Jesus Aguilar celebrates after scoring a goal in the region semifinal. The Bulls beat Midlothian Heritage 6-2. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

For the first 40 minutes of Friday’s 4A Region I semifinal, Midlothian Heritage had an answer for every Bridgeport score.

The Jaguars twice found equalizers in the first half, tying the game at 2 just before the intermission. But in the second half, Midlothian Heritage ran out of answers.

Bridgeport scored four goals in the final 15 minutes of regulation to come away with a 6-2 victory at Birdville ISD’s Fine Arts and Athletics Complex. The Bulls advanced to the 4A Region I final for the second straight year.

“We knew it [was going to be] a 12-round fight for us – we knew it was going to be that type of game,” said Bridgeport coach C.J. Cartwright. “We can continue to push in those last 15-20 minutes when some other teams start to fall off. We were knocking on the door the whole second half. It was [only] a matter of time.”

Miguel Olmos broke the stalemate in the 65th minute when he calmly converted a penalty kick. Midlothian Heritage’s keeper managed to get a hand on the shot, but could not keep it out. Six minutes later in the 71st minute, Jesus Aguilar deposited a free kick into the top right corner of the net to give the Bulls a 4-2 advantage.

Eric Aguilar continued the goal-scoring frenzy just two minutes later, finding the back of the net in the 73rd and 74th minutes. Aguilar made two quality runs to get past the Jaguars’ back line and put the game away.

“They got frustrated and [shots] started falling,” Aguilar said. “We got to their heads and that’s what wins the game. We wore them down really bad.”

Cartwright believed his team’s conditioning paid dividends in this match, which was delayed 30 minutes by lightning in the first half.

“It’s why we put in the work we put in – so they can rely on it at times like this,” Cartwright said. “They can know there’s a reason we’ve done the things we have done. There’s a reason we do two- to three-mile warmups before we even practice. We practice tired, and it’s for times like this”

Milton Iniguez started the scoring early for Bridgeport, burying a rebound that caromed in the box to give the Bulls a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute. After Midlothian Heritage equalized, Juan Amador fought off two Jaguar defenders and drilled a shot to give Bridgeport a 2-1 lead.

Midlothian Heritage tied the score again in the 35th minute, but it was the last time they scored.

The Bulls improved to 21-3-1 on the season. Bridgeport’s four playoff victories have been by a combined score of 21-4.

“I told them after the game champions answer the bell,” Cartwright said. “When we get our backs against the wall that’s when we find out a little bit about ourselves. Our backs got put against the wall and we came out swinging.”

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