Perry Hall's Bloom gets a kick start from camp

September 04, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Jason Bloom just couldn't resist the challenge from Washington Redskin kicker Chip Lohmiller last June at the kicker's camp at Western Maryland College.

"I had just finished stretching and just walked out and grabbed the football," said Bloom, Perry Hall's returning All-Metro kicker and punter.

"I didn't even know he [Lohmiller] was watching, but I just started lining up the ball like I was going to kick it, and he goes, 'Yeah, right.' I said, 'I can do it,' but I was standing pretty far away."

Fifty-eight yards away, to be exact.

Lohmiller had bet Bloom a steak dinner that he couldn't put the ball through the uprights.

Bloom ate well that night.

"I wasn't really surprised that I made it because I had been kicking well all weekend," said Bloom. "I had worked hard, so it felt great to win that bet."

Bloom, who rated among the top 10 of 250 kickers in the camp, enters his senior season averaging 45.5 yards on punts. He's also converted six of nine career field-goal attempts -- including a career-best 45-yarder last season -- and 30 of 35 extra-point kicks.

While Bloom's five extra-point miscues were the result of blocked kicks, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior never has had a punt or field goal blocked.

"I measure off all of my field goals the same way every time I kick: three steps back, two over. That's what's made me so consistent," said Bloom, who kicked 15 of 20 field-goal attempts successfully in practice Wednesday from the 50- to 55-yard range.

"My punting style has taken a while longer to develop, but I've gotten better at angling the ball toward the sidelines."

Last year, Bloom had an area-best 49.9-yard punting average over 10 attempts. He also went 14 of 17 on extra-point kicks and was 4-for-6 on field goals.

Bloom kicked the longest field goal of his career last year from an area-best 45 yards. He also converted field goals from 37, 31 and 28 yards.

Coach Joe Stoy knows that this year more than ever Bloom's expertise will be needed. The Gators have graduated two speedy running backs, including second-team All-Metro fullback Mark Franklin, the entire defense and a host of other starters.

"Last year he kept teams pinned inside the 10- or 15-yard line. We'll be relying on him to keep us in good field position," Stoy said. "There's a good chance we'll be kicking more field goals. We'll need him and the other seniors to lead us."

Bloom, also the reserve quarterback, works just as hard in that role as starter Kevin Znamirowski. He has a respectable arm, capable of accurate passes over 50 yards.

But it's Bloom's feet that will kick in most often when the offense sputters.

"I've been thinking ahead, knowing that the coaches expect me to be ready to kick more," said Bloom, who has heard from such college programs as Maryland, West Virginia and Nebraska. "If it means scoring more field goals, I know that I can."

Bloom's confidence is born of past pressures.

Playing for Perry Hall's recreation council the summer before his freshman year, Bloom kicked a 42-yard field goal for a 17-16 victory over York, Pa., in a preseason game.

Another test came a little more than a year later, when Bloom, then a sophomore, went from hero to potential goat to hero in Perry Hall's 38-37 double-overtime victory over host Dundalk.

With 25 seconds left in regulation, Bloom tied the game at 25 on a 24-yard field goal that forced overtime. But with the game tied at 31 in the first extra period, he shanked his first extra-point attempt wide of the right goal post.

But after Franklin's scoring run countered Dundalk's touchdown, tying the game at 37, Bloom chipped in an extra point to secure the win.

"We knew when we first saw him that he'd be the best that we've ever had here," said Stoy, who has sent six or seven highlight films of Bloom to college programs.

"On kickoffs now, he's regularly kicking the ball into the end zone. We know now that if we get inside the 40-yard line, we're in Jason's range."

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