Soccer: Bridgeport and Brownwood meet again

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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For the second straight year, Bridgeport will meet Brownwood in the 4A Region I bi-district round of the playoffs. The Bulls and Lions will square off at 8 p.m. Thursday at Mineral Wells.

Bridgeport beat Brownwood 5-1 last season en route to the state finals.

FAMILIAR FOES – Bridgeport senior Eric Aguilar goes up for a header. The Bulls open the playoffs against Brownwood for the second straight year. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Bulls won their third consecutive District 3-4A title last week, knocking off rival Decatur 5-1. Bridgeport finished the year 17-3-1 overall and 7-1-1 in league play. The Lions went winless in District 4-4A, finishing last at 0-9.

“We’re expecting a tough game,” said Bridgeport coach C.J. Cartwright. “I know where they placed in district, and looking at their record and things like that, but we’re expecting a good team.

“We’re not really putting a whole lot of thought into who they were last year.”

The Bulls averaged 4.2 goals per game this season. Senior Juan Amador was the motor behind Bridgeport’s potent offensive attack. He was their leading scorer and recorded multiple hat tricks this year.

His most recent three-goal performance came in Bridgeport’s regular season finale victory over Decatur.

“He’s huge,” Cartwright said. “You can’t replace the kid. Offensively, effort-wise, he’s all over the field. He’s going to be big for us.”

The Bulls will also get a key piece of their defense back to open the playoffs. Bridgeport has been without defender Giovanni Martinez for nearly a month. Martinez suffered an ankle injury at the end of February that left him in a walking boot.

“[Martinez] is doing good,” Cartwright said. “He’s practiced the last four or five practices, and we’ve done some hard stuff. He hasn’t tried to get out of any of it. He’s ready to go play, and I expect him to play Thursday.”

The Bulls finished last season as the 4A runner-up, falling to Kilgore in penalties in the championship. Several members of the team have said repeatedly throughout the season how their goal is to return to the state tournament and bring home the crown.

Bridgeport’s first step to achieve that goal starts Thursday.

“It’s invigorating,” Cartwright said. “It’s a new chapter. They’ve been in this spot before. They’re looking forward to this journey. I think they’re ready to go and chomping at the bit. They’re excited.”

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