There were still five weeks of football left in the regular season when Bloomingdale took the field against Alonso on Thursday. As far as the Bulls were concerned, though, the outcome of the district matchup would decide their fate.
A win would keep their postseason hopes alive. Come away with a loss, and they'd find themselves in an 0-2 district hole that would be nearly impossible to climb out of.
Bloomingdale felt the pressure. But as quarterback Isaiah McIntyre found his groove - and eventually the end zone - on the Bulls' second drive of the night, running back Fred McCoy admitted the weight of the game began to melt away.
"Having Isaiah, it's a blessing," McCoy said. "Without him, we wouldn't be able to do half the stuff we do."
Bloomingdale, which struggled to move the ball on the ground last season, was relentless on the run all night, and McIntyre rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Bulls beat Alonso 43-21.
Bloomingdale (4-1, 1-1) punted the ball away on its first possession, but that would be its only punt of the half. McIntyre had 54 yards, including the 1-yard score, on Bloomingdale's 55-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter. He found the end zone again in the second on a 14-yard run.
And though coach Brian Surcy attributes much of Bloomingdale's success running the ball - the Bulls rushed for 242 yards, and McIntyre led the way with 146 - to the offensive line, he couldn't deny that his senior quarterback is part of that equation.
"He's an outstanding athlete. We all know that," he said. "There's only one Isaiah."
Bloomingdale added two more scores, both after Alonso (2-4, 0-2) turnovers, before the break. Alex Smith turned a Ravens fumble into a 28-yard field goal before the Bulls picked off Alonso quarterback Chris Oladokun and scored moments later on a 7-yard touchdown run from Doug Sandberg.
Bloomingdale started the second half on the right foot when McCoy threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Voyles on a fake punt, but a series of defensive lapses allowed Alonso to steal the momentum late.
Ravens tight end Tristyn Ferlita scored on a 65-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter to put Alonso on the board. A big kickoff return and Bloomingdale personal foul would give the Ravens a short field in the fourth, and Oladokun capitalized with a 16-yard touchdown run.
The senior quarterback would have another - this time on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Walker - with just more than five minutes remaining in the game, cutting Bloomingdale's lead to 16.
All it took was one more Bulls score to seal the deal, though, and after a big gain by McCoy, Chris Wonsley ran 15 yards for a touchdown, Bloomingdale's fourth rushing touchdown of the night.
McIntyre, who helped quarterback a Bulls team that rushed for just 772 yards a year ago, said he was glad the offense has now proven itself to be two-dimensional.
But he's even more relieved that the Bulls' playoff hopes are still alive.
"(It feels good) to know we've got control now," he said. "We decide what happens to us."
Contact Kelly Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @_kellyparsons.