The Lady Bulls won the 2A District 6 Championship game 19-0 against Durant. (Photo courtesy of Laura Robinson.)

The Bloomingdale High School girls flag football team advanced further than ever before, reaching the regional final for the first time in their school’s history. The Bulls lost to the eventual state champion Newsome Wolves by one point, 20-19.

“All of our hard work and practices as a team paid off, and we won districts because of it,” said junior receiver/linebacker Hayley Robinson. “We wanted to prove to the other teams not to underestimate us. I will always remember the thrill of being champions. We made Bloomingdale High School sports history this year, and that is something I will never forget. I am proud to be a part of this team.”

Second-year Head Coach Larry Langston said his team had a successful postseason run despite having a mediocre regular season with six losses and multiple players in quarantine throughout the year, including starting junior quarterback Kaylie Lewis. At the beginning of the season, the Bulls lost to Newsome 39-0 in their second game, but they improved throughout the year, using defense to help win close games. Their motto was “Trust the process.”

“We didn’t have to motivate our girls very much after we got into the playoffs,” said Langston. “When they warmed up, they were ready to go. The growth was phenomenal from day one to our last game. They stuck together and believed they could win.”

One of the team’s key moments was a loss to rival Durant in the middle of the season. The Cougars ran up the score in the final seconds of the game. The Lady Bulls did not forget that, and later went on to avenge that loss in the 2A District 6 Championship game, as they beat the Cougars 19-0 at Durant’s home field.

“What I will remember most is the team bond that we all had, and how, when faced with hard times and opponents, we came together as a family,” said junior captain Marlee Wilson. “We were always there to support each other on and off the field.”

The key players for Bloomingdale include rushers Brianna Phillips (Second Team All-County) and Melody Womack. Sophomore receiver/defensive back Emily Gunidn was selected First Team All-County and was named team MVP at their banquet.

“I look forward to next season because we are even more motivated since we came so close to winning it all this year,” said Robinson. “I know with the coaching and talent we have on the team we will make it even further. We will continue to practice and participate in tournaments over the summer and into the fall as a travel team. I think making it to the regional finals showed us how great we are together as a team. This off-season is just going to make us stronger.”
The Lady Bulls have lofty goals for themselves next season with 12 returning players. They have one more thing left on their minds until next season.

“For us going into next season, my battle cry is ‘one’—one point away from tying the game up against Newsome to make it interesting,” said Langston. “One team, one more play, one goal.”

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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.