WHITEHOUSE -- Kilgore didn't finish the regular season the way it wanted, but after a solid performance Monday night, the Bulldogs began the second season on the right foot.

Kike Rico had a goal and assisted on two others, leading Kilgore to a 3-0 win over Athens in their Class 4A Region II bi-district soccer playoff at Wildcat Stadium.

"It's a good feeling, since we lost our final district game," said Kilgore coach Aaron Erickson. "It was good to come out with a little momentum going into the rest of the playoffs."

Athens' Bryant Castaneda and Kilgore's Alexis Torres fight for control of the ball during their 4A bi-district playoff Monday in Whitehouse. (© Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Kilgore (18-3-4), champions of District 32-4A, will face Pittsburg on Thursday in the area round of the playoffs. The site and time have yet to be determined. The Pirates, who finished second in 29-4A, received a first-round bye.

Athens, which finished fourth in 31-4A, ended its season at 8-12-5.

Alexis Torres and Nano Peralez also had goals for Kilgore, which broke the game open with a pair of goals early in the second half when the Bulldogs were playing into a fierce northern wind.

"I actually think going against the wind helped us," Erickson said. "It slowed the ball down a little bit and gave us more opportunities."

Torres got Kilgore on the board in the 25th minute off an assist from Rico, who fed Torres for Kilgore's second goal seven minutes into the second half. Rico assisted Peralez for the Bulldogs' final score of the night less than five minutes later.

"We finished the ball when we got in front of the net, where we've been having trouble the last four or five games," Erickson said. "That's good to see. And defensively, we cleaned it up a little bit in the second half."

Standout junior J.D. Perales was in goal for Kilgore.

Athens' Alfredo Vazquez (7) handles the ball against Kilgore during their Class 4A Region II bi-district playoff Monday night in Whitehouse. (© Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)