Bulls coach keeps his playoff promises
FORT MYERS — Three years ago, Max Warner left an assistant coaching job at Virginia Tech to take over at Bloomingdale.
When Warner first arrived, he told players they would win a playoff game for the first time in school history.
It happened Friday night.
The Bulls went on the road and manhandled Riverdale in a convincing 45-8 victory.
“This is a long time coming,” Warner said. “I’m just happy for everyone at the school who has waited for this.”
To accomplish that elusive goal, Bloomingdale had to travel to Fort Myers to play a Raiders team that became just the seventh from Lee County to go undefeated in the regular season. Still Warner felt confident.
“No disrespect to Riverdale and Lee County, but from what I watched on film, it just wasn’t at the same level of football as Hillsborough County,” Warner said.
Hitched up with an inviting stretch of overmatched opponents, the Raiders (10-1) waltzed through the regular season. The Bulls (10-1), meanwhile, had to slog their way through games in Class 7A, District 9, one of the toughest in the state.
And two weeks ago, quarterback Lance Alderson broke his foot against Durant. He will be evaluated by his doctor this coming week but is not expected to return until the region finals.
That forced the Bulls to make some adjustments. They used as many as five players at quarterback in a win over Robinson in the regular-season finale.
On Friday, Charles Montgomery took the bulk of the snaps. Operating out of the shotgun in a Wildcat formation, Montgomery ran five times on the opening drive, the last a 16-yarder for a touchdown. Dominic Gonnella ran in the two-point conversion.
Riverdale tied it up on 63-yard touchdown pass and successful two-point conversion in the second quarter. Bloomingdale got its first big break on a blocked punt that was recovered by Levi Williams for a 15-8 lead.
On the Bulls’ next possession, Montgomery hit Terrel Ferrell on a 34-yard touchdown pass to make it 22-8 at the half.
The big story was the play of Bloomingdale’s defense. Riverdale runs the single wing and uses all sorts of shifts at the line of scrimmage to create confusion.
The offense helped the Raiders average nearly 400 rushing per game. On Friday, they were held to 23 yards at the half and 131 for the game on the ground.
“If you would have said they would only score eights points and it would be on a pass, I would have a hard time believing it,” Warner said. “The defense did an unbelievable job.”