VALRICO — Perhaps Bloomingdale coach Troy Smith summed it up best.
"Wharton just has our number," he said.
Wharton beat nationally ranked Bloomingdale for the second time this season Friday night 3-1 to capture the 6A-8 district title on the Bulls' home field.
"Bloomingdale knocked us out in the district semis last year, and I think the seniors used that as motivation," Wharton coach Scott Ware said. "Bloomingdale is a very good side."
The Wildcats (10-10-1) have handed the Bulls (15-2-3), ranked No. 28 in the most recent ESPN Rise poll, both defeats on the season. It was Bloomingdale's first loss since Sept. 12.
"They outplayed us, outworked us and outfinished us," Smith said. "You have to give props to Wharton."
Cody Brown got Wharton on the board first four minutes before the half. He ran under a long ball in the box and collided with a Bloomingdale defender, sending both to the turf. But Brown got up and from point-blank range put Wharton ahead for good.
"That first half could easily have gone either way," Ware said.
The Wildcats increased the lead to 2-0 when Konner Dozark picked up the first of his two assists, chipping a ball near the top of the box to a streaking Alex Noble for a goal in the 58th minute. Tevin Gage pulled the Bulls back within one two minutes later, but Felipe Desousa took a touch pass from Dozark just inside the 18-yard box to finish the scoring in the 66th minute.
"On paper, we came in as the underdog," Ware said. "But sometimes that's not a bad thing."