November 23rd, 2019

Holy Cross wins first regional football title since 1987

Dalton Pence 

Staff Writer 


Holy Cross wins first regional football title since 1987
Holy Cross wins first regional football title since 1987/ photo by Dalton Pence

Bob Bronger was an assistant coach in 1987 when Holy Cross won their first and only regional football championship. That is, until Friday evening when the Cougars, led by head coach Bronger, snapped the drought, defeating Newport Central Catholic 21-16 to advance to the KHSAA state semifinals. Set to retire at the end of the season, Holy Cross gave him one of his most memorable wins, in his last true home game.

“For this to be my last time as a head coach on these sidelines, to win a regional championship makes this an exciting time”, Bronger explained.

 

Things did not start out smooth for the home team. Newport Catholic scored on the first drive from scrimmage when Paul Kremer fired a strike to Cody Mueller from 25 yards out. The Thoroughbreds soon intercepted Chaz Geraghty’s tipped pass and Sam Lavin’s 22-yard field goal made it 10-0 going into the second quarter.

 

Luke Davis got the Cougars on the board with a seven yard rushing touchdown, the first of two scores on the night for the senior running back. “After we held them to the field goal, it gave us a little momentum”, Geraghty explained. “We kept trusting our running game, which opened up the passing game.”

 

The small comeback was achieved on Geraghty’s touchdown pass to Mason Hirst in the back of the end zone right before halftime.

 

Holy Cross opened up the third quarter with a 10-play, 71 yard drive that chewed up almost five minutes of game clock to make it 21-10, but Newport Catholic threatened the lead in the fourth quarter.

 

With less than five minutes to play, Kremer found Mueller again for the duo’s second score, to bring the Thoroughbreds within five. A bad snap/hold on the ensuing field goal attempt from Holy Cross after a 35 yard Geraghty run gave Newport Catholic the ball on their own 31-yard line with just over a minute to play.

 

After allowing a conversion on fourth-and-31, the Cougar defense came up huge, breaking up two desperation attempts to secure the victory. “That’s a great football team (Newport Catholic), Bronger explained. “Our defensive staff made a great game plan. 

 

Geraghty finished with 17 rushes for 105 yards, while completing six of 14 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. “He (Geraghty) has turned into a tremendous football player”, Bronger said. “He always was a great linebacker, but now he’s running for 100 yards a game and throwing the ball well.”

 

Davis had 18 carries for 48 yards and two scores; Graham Carnes paced the Holy Cross receivers with four catches for 62 yards. Nolan Siegrist finished with two sacks.

 

“We’ve been working all year for this”, Geraghty said. “Nobody believed in us, but we believed in ourselves. We have the best bond, and these group of seniors are something special.”

 

The Cougars (11-2) will travel to Pikeville next Friday to take on the undefeated Panthers at 7:30 in the state semifinals. “To get to go the final four is a great honor”, Bronger said. “As a coach, you always dream about practicing on Thanksgiving Day. I’ve told the coaching staff that it is an experience that you want to go through at least once in your life. This is an unbelievably special group of kids; I’m just so proud of the effort given.”

 

Newport Central Catholic finishes the season with a 9-3 record. 

 

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