Bulls take down Decatur: Bridgeport ends regular season on high note

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, March 27, 2019
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Charging ahead

CHARGING AHEAD – Bridgeport’s Damien Martinez weaves his way through the Decatur defense during a match Friday. The Bulls won 4-1. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

With 24 minutes left in the first half Friday night, Decatur sophomore Andres Hernandez weaved his way through Bridgeport’s back line and fired a shot across the box.

The ball curled into the top corner of the net, leveling the score at one.

“He settled the ball, created space and was able to put a great shot on it,” said Decatur coach Chris Benjamin. “He’s been one of our top scorers this year. I’m very proud he was able to finish district with a goal.”

Five minutes later, Bridgeport’s Edward Rodriguez was taken down in the box, leading to a penalty kick.

He converted, and the Bulls scored two more goals in the second half to pull away from the Eagles 4-1 in the regular season finale.

“I feel like we played a great first half. They just had a better second half than us,” Benjamin said. “We came out ready to compete and end the season on a positive note. We got them on their back heels, but they proved why they’re district champs this year. I think they are a solid team and played a little more aggressive and made some plays.”

Bridgeport closed the regular season 14-5-2 and 8-1 in District 7-4A. The Bulls will take on Western Hills in the 4A Region I bi-district round at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Springtown.

“Winning your last district game, building momentum – it’s always good to win your last one,” said Bridgeport coach J.D. Bales.

Decatur finished third in 7-4A and will meet Kennedale in the bi-district round at 8 p.m. Friday in Weatherford.

The Eagles are 7-9-1 and went 4-5 in league play.

Bridgeport got on the board in the sixth minute when Jose Huerta pounded home a rebound. The Bulls led 2-1 at halftime despite getting outshot 9-7 in the first 40 minutes.

“We were kind of playing laxed and not doing what we do,” Bales said. “At halftime, we said we needed to polish up and start getting ready for the playoffs. We challenged them to step it up in the second half and they accepted the challenge. They turned it on and played Bridgeport soccer.”

Miguel Alvarez padded Bridgeport’s lead in the 50th minute with a goal off a set piece. Later in the 64th minute, Giovanni Martinez found the back of the net with a goal off his left foot to put the Bulls up 4-1.

Bridgeport’s defense did the rest, turning away several Decatur chances to preserve the win.

“I’ve been pleased with the back line all year,” Bales said. “They come up big for us in clutch moments. They’re getting the chemistry they need to have to understand where they need to be. It’s really starting to gel. They’re pretty dangeous.”

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