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Soccer: Three-peat – Bridgeport claims third straight district title

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, March 24, 2018
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Charging Ahead

CHARGING AHEAD – Bridgeport’s Eric Aguilar goes for a header against Decatur. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Bridgeport’s motto entering Tuesday’s tilt with rival Decatur was “earn the win.”

With a chance to claim their third straight district championship, Bulls coach C.J. Cartwright put his team through a series of rigorous workouts leading up to the regular season league finale. The work paid off.

HOT TRICK – Bridgeport players celebrate with forward Juan Amador after scoring a goal. Amador scored three times in the Bulls’ 5-1 win over Decatur. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Behind four first half goals, the Bulls again took home the District 3-4A championship, 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.

Juan Amador finished with a hat trick, leading the onslaught.

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 scored only 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 stops by their back line. Eliuth Gamboa scored Decatur’s only goal in the 52nd minute, burying a rebound inside the box.

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

Back on Top

BACK ON TOP – Bridgeport scored four first half goals to beat Decatur and claim its third straight district championship. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“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.”

The Eagles could have won their first district title with a win or tie. With the loss, Decatur will be the second seed out of 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 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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