The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

September 12, 2013

Teams find tall task in stopping Bloom

Alec Bloom won’t be able to avoid the spotlight this season in the Heritage Conference.

Ligonier Valley’s 6-foot-7, 245-pound senior tight end is difficult to miss under any circumstances.

The fact that Bloom is a Division I recruit who already verbally committed to UConn only adds to the glare.

Fortunately for the 2-0 Rams, Bloom handles the expectations and any related hype with the same workmanlike approach he has on the football field.

“At 6-7, 245-pounds, he is an outstanding athlete,” veteran Ligonier coach Roger Beitel said. “He’s got the speed of a small back. He’s got the soft hands of a wide receiver and he’s got the size and strength to be a fullback.”

Quite an impressive combination.

“He’s got a lot of weapons,” Beitel added. “The biggest thing in terms of his being a receiver is he has just tremendously soft hands. He can also run the ball. He’s got great speed. Because we’ve had him from the time he was a little pup in the kennel to where he is now, sometimes we need to stop and reflect how special it is to have someone like that in the program.”

Last week Bloom had nine receptions for 138 yards in a 42-7 win over United. He caught all but one pass in the first half, when he collected all but two of his receiving yards, scored a touchdown and nearly had a second TD on an acrobatic attempt.

“Alec did all of that damage in the first half of the football game,” Beitel said. “He only had one catch in the second half and that was by design. We had a big lead and wanted to run the ball.”

Bloom leads the area with 12 receptions for 203 receiving yards heading into Ligonier’s key Heritage Conference game at unbeaten Blairsville on Friday. He has one more reception and 12 more receiving yards than Westmont Hilltop’s Collin Barron (11-191). Windber’s Dan Tomlinson (12-168), Richland’s Kyle Flick (5-162) and Windber’s Matt Barkley (12-155) round out the top-five in receiving statistics provided through two weeks.

“Alec is such a nightmare to match up with,” Beitel said. “Obviously he’s a Division I talent. There’s not a whole lot of people that have an answer for that.”

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