Leader Times Q&A: Ford City's Tyler Blaniar
Even in a down year by Ford City standards, the Sabers have put out solid special teams units, and senior kicker Tyler Blaniar plays a big part in that.
Blaniar, a two-year starter, handles all of the kicking duties for Ford City — field goals, kickoffs and punting — and has been reliable across the board. The senior averages 35.3 yards per punt, is 14 for 16 on extra point attempts and is 2 for 3 on his field goal tries.
The senior's boot also provided one of the most memorable moments of the season for Ford City, as he atoned for an earlier miss on an extra point to nail a game-winning 24-yard field goal in a 9-6 nonconference victory over Southmoreland.
Blaniar hopes to continue kicking in college after the high school career ends for him and his senior teammates Friday in the season finale at Valley.Q: When did you decide to become a kicker?
A: About six years ago, I started working at it and started getting a lot of help from people. I've never really played any other position. I've always been a kicker and punter, and I've gotten pretty decent at it.
Q: Ford City has a history of strong kickers, so did any of them help you along the way?
A: Casey Welch. He punted at Purdue, and he was a big help to me. I still get in contact with him when he's in town. Also, Andrew Huska, the last kicker at Ford City, he helped me out a lot.
Q: Do you prefer kicking or punting?
A: If you had asked me years ago, I'd have said kicking for sure, but now I'm starting to like punting the ball more and more.
Q: Was the game-winner against Southmoreland your career highlight?
A: For sure. Just because it won the game at the end, that's definitely the best moment in my career.
Q: Is college recruiting different for kickers than other positions?
A: There's a lot of people that help you out along the way, and there are a lot of recruiting websites. Some people say it's a little easier to get recognized because there's not as many kickers out there as other positions.
Q: What schools have you talked to so far?
A: I've had a couple schools talk to me — California (Pa.), St. Vincent and Grove City. My dream school would probably be West Virginia.
Q: Do any of your teammates give you a hard time for being the kicker?
A: No, our locker room is filled with good guys. They know I'm out there to do my job, and they're trying just as hard to do their jobs on the field.