Soccer: Bulls back in familiar territory

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018
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Bridgeport has been here before.

Coming off their first appearance in the 4A state tournament last season, the Bulls are once again two wins away from making the trip to Georgetown. Bridgeport will compete in the 4A Region I tournament this weekend at Birdville ISD’s Fine Arts and Athletics Complex in North Richland Hills for the right to return to state.

The Bulls’ first test will come at 4 p.m. Friday against Midlothian Heritage in the semifinal. The Jaguars won the District 8-4A title and finished the regular season 19-4-1.

“When you get to this point, every team is good,” said Bridgeport coach C.J. Cartwright. “You have to bring your A game every game. That’s just how it goes. There’s no easy games at this point. The good news is the guys have been in this spot before, most of them. This feeling is familiar, and they know what they’re about to get into.”

Bridgeport has dominated opponents so far in the postseason, winning its three playoff matches by a combined score of 15-2.

The Bulls handled Brownwood 7-1 in the bi-district round and then shut out Clint 4-0 in the area round. Bridgeport took down Stephenville 4-1 in the regional quarterfinal last Friday.

“I feel like we’re playing really well right now,” Cartwright said. “I’m happy with where we’re at. We’re confident right now.”

Cartwright expects an intense match Friday with a berth in the regional final on the line. He added Midlothian Heritage has several dangerous players, but its ability to move the ball is what makes them lethal.

The Jaguars are averaging 3.3 goals. Opponents, meanwhile, are averaging just 0.9 goals against them.

“They’re a skilled, explosive team,” Cartwright said. “They’ve got a couple of players who are really, really good. They’re in the spot they are in for a reason. We’re expecting kind of a knockdown, drag out game.”

The winner of Bridgeport and Midlothian Heritage will advance and play the winner of San Elizario and Life Oak Cliff in the regional final for the right to advance to state. Kickoff for that game is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday.

“Hopefully [our experience] is an advantage for us going into these next few games,” Cartwright said. “We know that although all these teams are top-notch, we can hang with anybody if we play how we are capable of playing.”

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