Ligonier Valley's Bloom ends high school career at Big 33 game
For years, Alec Bloom has heard about this game. He's listened while people touted its importance in revered tones. He's dreamt of having the chance to play in it.
On Saturday night, Bloom's dream turned in to reality as he lined up to play in the 57th annual Big 33 Football Classic at Hersheypark Stadium.
“I've known about the game, but I never thought that I would be playing in it,” Bloom said. “I've always wanted to, but it's put up on a pedestal. It was always a dream of mine and now it's a dream come true.”
The Ligonier Valley tight end and 2013 Heritage all-conference performer hauled in two passes for 18 yards for the Pennsylvania team in its 31-24 double-overtime loss to Maryland.
Stomaching the loss to Maryland was admittedly a little unpleasant, but for Bloom it did nothing to sour his Big 33 game experience.
“We all played our hardest and it would've been nice to get the win, but at the same time it was really fun and it was a great game,” Bloom said.
“As players, I think we all made some bonds that will never be broken. It was a great experience, definitely one of the best experiences that I've ever had.”
Participating in the Big 33 Football Classic served as more then just a sentimental landmark for Bloom, as the event also gave him a chance to test the injured knee that cut his senior campaign short in week eight of the regular season.
“My knee is coming along really well, and this game helped me get back in football shape before I go off to college,” Bloom said. “You can't get a better experience then coming here and practicing against great talent. It's helped me get back on my feet.”
Despite his shortened season, the 6-foot-7, 240-pound senior was able to set school records for receiving yards in a season (830) and receiving yards in a game (201 vs. Penns Manor). The abilities Bloom showcased as a pass-catcher earned him a scholarship to play football at UConn, where he will enroll this summer.
Although he made his commitment to UConn when the program was under the direction of head coach Paul Pasqualoni, Bloom said that his pledge did not waiver when Pasqualoni was relieved of his duties, and Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco was hired in his stead.
“When the new staff came in and I got in touch with them, they said they would absolutely still want me,” Bloom said. “They went through a kind of re-recruitment with me. It's definitely the school that I've seen myself going to all along.”
While Diaco and his offensive coordinator, Mike Cummings, who spent the last four years at Central Michigan, have built their reputations on pass-happy offenses, Bloom said he hasn't received word yet on how frequently he may be utilized in the passing game as a freshman.
“I've spoken to them, but I'm not really worried,” he said. “I just want to do what's best for the UConn program, and what's best for the team.”
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.