Holy Cross ready for state semi-final

Bob Bronger has returned home to his alma mater to close out his coaching career with hopes for a state title still alive.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bob Bronger was part of more glorious football past at Holy Cross, and now he's trying to help write one more stirring chapter in his final season as the school's head coach. 

The Cougars 21-16 win over Newport Central Catholic last Friday gave them a region title for the first time since 1987. Bronger was an assistant on that team and then became head coach from 1988 to 1991. His final year included a 15-14 win over Trinity during the regular season that ended the Shamrocks 50-game win streak.  

The 1971 graduate of Bishop David (the forerunner to Holy Cross) then moved on to South Oldham. He was there for 10 years and then had subsequent stints as head coach at Valley and Fern Creek. In recent years, he coached at the grade school level for his son's teams. But when an opening came at his alma mater in 2016, he jumped at the chance. 

"I've coached some of these guys since the fifth grade," Bronger said about his current group of seniors. "I taught a majority of the teams' mom or dad or both, and it's the school I went to. It's where I became a head coach for the first time. This place is special in my heart."

"It's really special for Coach Bronger and for us," senior Luke Davis said. "He's a great role model for us. He supports us. I've known Coach Bronger since eighth grade year, and he's always supported me and all of our seniors. We really look up to him as a role model and we're excited to do it for him."

"Having him here is a great feeling," fellow senior J.R. Perry added. "He's an awesome guy to have as a coach. He never wants to make it about himself. Over 40 years on the sideline, that's a long time. It's extra special for him and for us."

One regret Bronger had about leaving Holy Cross in the early 1990s was not getting to see many of his sons' sporting events because of conflicts. He had a son who was a runner and another who played football at Holy Cross. Getting to coach his son Casey this time around has been a joy. He played soccer in his first two years at the school but added football in his junior and senior years. He's a snapper and wide receiver.   

Holy Cross is 11-2 as they head to 12-0 Pikeville on Friday night with a berth in the 1A State Title game on the line. They would love to give Bronger his first crown as a parting gift. 

"It's a three-and-a-half-hour drive," Bronger said. "I'm gonna remind them it's a whole lot easier to drive home a winner than as a loser. "

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