VALRICO — Brian Surcy has made his way around the local high school football scene.
There's been stops at Freedom, Brandon and Tampa Bay Tech, to name a few. He has been a position coach at Bloomingdale High School the last two years but all that experience, all that seasoning, still didn't prepare him for the step up to head coach.
"It's like overnight you're the CEO," he said. "You're dealing with everything from boosters to parents and fundraising. And then you have to prepare your kids for Friday nights."
So far, so good. Surcy will look to improve his record to 2-0 tonight when Bloomingdale hosts Brandon at 7:30.
"I've been coaching in this county since 2003," Surcy said. "All the different sceneries have prepared me. But even saying all that, there are still things you can't be prepared for."
Ready or not, Surcy has made an immediate impact at a school known far more for girls soccer than tackle football. Receiver Doug Sandberg said even though he felt former coach John Booth was "a pretty fired-up guy," Surcy is on another level.
"He's running around, really energetic," Sandberg said. "Coach Surcy is very passionate about the game."
Practices have been crisp and efficient, but with a yeoman-like work ethic. Sandberg said the players have responded.
"I think we're a lot more optimistic, as a team," he said. "And we have the biggest (offensive) line I've seen in my four years."
Surcy didn't exactly inherit a clunker. The Bulls could also put up a lot of points this season thanks to a potentially high-octane offense.
"I'm seeing a lot of growth at all the (offensive) positions," Surcy said. "And I like the progress."
Junior Isaiah McIntyre holds the keys to the ride. A starter since his freshman season, McIntyre was benched last season for a few games due to off-field issues.
Surcy said McIntyre is a new man this season.
"In his freshman and sophomore years, (McIntyre) hated practice," he said. "I mean he was lazy. But in the spring a light switch turned on. He comes to work hard now every single day. Something clicked."
Surcy said he can't pinpoint the exact moment McIntyre turned the corner. But his maturation hasn't been lost on his teammates.
"He's working harder on and off the field," he said. "Now you're seeing him mature into the star athlete that he is."
McIntyre has a bevy of weapons at his disposal. Logan Crouse, at 6-feet-5, provides a sure-handed big man with deep-threat prowess. Receiver Sandberg operates out of the slot and is a mismatch nightmare. Throw in Riverview transfer running back Fred McCoy and the Bulls might count the 16 points they scored against Strawberry Crest in the opener as their lowest total of the season.
"It's difficult to cover us both," Sandberg said. "Because we bring different aspects to the game."
Bloomingdale, a school with just one playoff appearance to its credit, has a tough Brandon team tonight and a rematch of last season's thriller with Plant after the bye. Sandberg said they're taking one game at a time but mentioned his lofty goals.
"I see this as a 10-0 season," Sandberg said. "I really do."