The Bloomingdale Bulls had an outstanding 2019 football season, claiming their fourth straight winning season and third straight playoff appearance. Bloomingdale won their first two playoff games in school history last season.

The Bulls defeated Winter Haven 14-7 in the regional quarterfinals on November 8, but then lost to a talented Armwood team 20-9 on November 15 in the regional semifinals. The Bulls lost a week two matchup to Armwood 28-0 in early August.

The football team has developed into one of the better programs in Hillsborough County over the last four years. In 2015, they had a 1-9 season and they were looking for a new head coach to turn the program around and change the culture.

Max Warner was hired and he did just that, recording a winning record in all three seasons at the helm of a program that had only two winning seasons in the school’s 28 years prior to his hire.

Since then, Warner has gone on to be the quarterbacks coach at Bowling Green University and Jake Coulson has taken over as head coach after coming to Bloomingdale the season before as the defensive coordinator. Coulson, with his defensive mindset, has continued the momentum with a 9-3 2019 campaign.

The Bulls had one of the toughest schedules in Hillsborough County this season, and their only three losses came to powerhouse programs Armwood and Lakeland. Coulson thinks that playing tough teams along with a productive offseason have prepared them for the playoff run.

“These kids know how to work and they’ve bought into our off-season program back when we ended the season last year,” said Coulson. “Football games aren’t won during the season, they are won during the off-season.”

Senior running back and North Dakota State commit Dominic Gonnella has been a big part of Bloomingdale’s success over the last three seasons after transferring from Riverview. He thinks that this year’s team has been the one that has faced the most adversity.

“This season was a lot more of a grind for us,” said Gonnella. “We lost a lot of talented seniors from last year, and it really came down to who was more disciplined and who was gonna make the next big play to keep us in the game. A lot of grit from this year’s team helped us get where we are.”

The 2020 senior class is the winningest class in school history with a 33-13 overall record.

“It means a lot to know that I was a part of the success that was brought to the program, along with guys like Levi Williams, Maurice Frost and other guys from the 2020 class,” said Gonnella. “I’m proud to know we made history here.”

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.