Coach: Brian Surcy (first season)
Last season: 6-4
Colors: Black, red and white
Stadium: Charlie Harris Stadium, 1700 E. Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico
Playoff history: 2008
Last appearance: Lost 48-6 to Lakeland.
Aug. 29 at Strawberry Crest, 7:30
Sept. 5 vs. Brandon, 7:30
Sept. 19 vs. Plant, 7:30
Sept. 26 at Plant City, 7:30
Oct. 2 at Alonso, 7
Oct. 10 vs. East Bay, 7:30
Oct. 17 vs. Riverview, 7:30
Oct. 24 at Newsome, 7:30
Oct. 31 at Wharton, 7:30
Nov. 7 vs. Middleton, 7:30
Mark your calendar
Plant at Bloomingdale, Sept. 19: The Bulls almost shocked the Panthers last year before falling 50-40, a game that nudged Bloomingdale into last year’s football consciousness and the best record in school history. This year’s Week 4 rematch against the district favorite will be a big test for the Bulls, who return a number of key players from 2013’s breakout team, and let us know right away if Bloomingdale is ready to make the jump. But new coach Brian Surcy, who takes over for John Booth (now at Manatee), was quick to dismiss last year’s Plant result as anything significant. “Last year means nothing,” he said. “It means nothing. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Balancing it out: The Bulls were not good in the running game last year, gaining just 772 yards — fewest since 2010 — on 3.6 yards a carry. And more than half of those yards were gained by quarterback Isaiah McIntyre. But Surcy, the running backs coach last season, says the Bulls will need to find a way to run the ball this year, a task made easier by Riverview transfer Fred McCoy.
Big O: The Bulls’ offensive line looks impressive, averaging around 6 feet, 265 pounds, and is bigger and more experienced than your typical Bloomingdale offensive line. Surcy says the group needs to develop an “attitude” to go with the size.
Big Mac: Surcy says his team will go as far as quarterback McIntyre takes it. The junior already has a pair of 1,000-yard seasons under his belt and is primed for a breakthrough season. He has a better line blocking for him, one of the best receiving corps in the area, two years of starting experience and a coach who is completely confident in his ability to throw the ball. Keep an eye on him.
New QB II: Last year’s Mac Attack of McIntyre and Tommy McLaughlin combined for 1,832 passing yards and 15 TDs. But McLaughlin, who accounted for 718 passing yards and seven of those TDs, did not come back out. So keeping McIntyre healthy is a must, though Jon Baker appears to be a capable backup.
Sack attack: Defensively, the key for Bloomingdale will be getting a pass rush, and they have the bodies to pull it off. Tyler Jahn is one of the area’s most underrated ends, and tackle Tyler Clark is solid. With linebacker Ryan Voyles behind them, the Bulls could top last year’s 26.5 sacks.
OL Tarron Hampton, Sr.: Hampton (6-3, 265) was the MVP at the USF camp this summer and will anchor the offensive line. “Tarron has really taken on a leadership role up front at left tackle,” Surcy said.
WR Logan Crouse, Sr.: He may be better known for his baseball exploits, where he was the Times’ Tampa Bay Pitcher of the Year, but his 6-5, 180-pound frame makes him a great target as a wide receiver as well. Last year, Crouse caught 42 passes and led the team with six touchdown receptions.
QB Isaiah McIntyre, Jr.: He threw for a career-high 337 yards against Plant and added a pair of 200-yard games, and his ability to run if needed (he had a team-high 379 yards and eight rushing TDs) makes him one of the area’s top offensive weapons. “He’s actually looked outstanding,” Surcy said. “These are the best practices he’s put together since he’s been here. It’s been pretty impressive to see the maturation out here.”
DL Tyler Jahn, Sr.: Jahn was another standout at the USF camp this summer, where Surcy said he was virtually unblockable. Jahn (6-1, 215) can line up at end or linebacker and led the team with eight sacks last year, to go with 68 tackles. “Tyler Jahn, if he keeps his head on straight, will be a stud for us,” said the coach.
LB Ryan Voyles, Jr.: Top returner at linebacker after notching 106 tackles as a sophomore.
WR Doug Sandberg, Sr.: Has to be in the discussion when debating the top slot receivers in Tampa Bay. Sandberg (5-8, 168) had 52 catches for 677 yards last season, and caught four or more passes in nine of 10 games. Good hands will make him the top target again.
DL/OL Tyler Clark, Sr.: One of the most impressive looking Bulls at 6-3, 230, Clark can help out on both sides of the ball and will look to be a bigger force on the pass rush this season.
RB Fred McCoy, Sr.: Surcy calls McCoy “a beast”, and at 5-9, 200 pounds he can run through or around defenders. Last season at Riverview, McCoy rushed for almost as many yards (712) as the entire Bloomingdale team, including a 215-yard effort against Strawberry Crest. His lowest rushing total? On nine carries, McCoy got just 15 yards against his new teammates.
WR Patrick Wiedrich, Jr.: A little bigger version of Sandberg, Surcy says Wiedrich is a great complement to his leading receiver, and will line up both wide and in the slot. “He’s still learning and still has got a ways to go, but he can take some pressure off,” Surcy said.
WR Sam Gonzalez, Jr.: Another bigger receiver that could make some noise.
DB Kyle Williams, Sr.: Has emerged as a leader in the defensive backfield, very good in one-on-one coverage.
DB Will Morgan, Sr.: Had 17 tackles and an interception last year, but Surcy likes his ability to find the ball in coverage.
“We would like to actually be more balanced than we were last year. Our strength was the passing game, but this year we’ll try to be more balanced.” — Surcy