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Knoch teammates take same college path

| Saturday, May 18, 2013, 8:26 p.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Knoch's Dakota Bruggeman (11) runs the ball against Hampton during their game at Hampton High School on Friday, September 28, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Valley News Dispatch
Knoch's Luke Kroneberg (No. 82) scores a touchdown past Hampton's Andy DeMichiei (No. 20) during their game at Hampton High School on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Knoch's football player Luke Kroneberg. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Making the transition from high school to an out-of-state college isn't easy for any student. But the switch may be a little easier for Knoch seniors Dakota Bruggeman and Luke Kroneberg, who will continue their football and academic careers in the fall at Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, W.Va.

“I remember when I committed, the first thing I did was text Luke and I said I'm committed, now it's your turn,” Bruggeman said.

Bruggeman and Kroneberg will be a part of the first Division II football team at Alderson-Broaddus. Bruggeman's plan is to compete for the starting quarterback job and major in nursing.

Despite the excitement of heading to college, getting homesick and missing his family will be obstacles for Bruggeman, but having Kroneberg with him will make things easier. The two will room together on campus.

“I love my family to death,” said Bruggeman (6-foot-4, 205 pounds). “Being away from my parents is what I think about everyday as being the scariest thought. When I go down there, it's just me and Luke.”

Kroneberg will go through similar hardships.

“I think that will help the transition,” Kroneberg said about having Bruggeman joining him. “Well, honestly, I might be a little homesick at first and, in football, I have to get used to the change of the speed of the game.”

In a way, Alderson-Broaddus is inheriting a best-of-both-worlds situation with Bruggeman, an offensive threat, and Kroneberg, a defensive standout.

Kroneberg (6-1, 210) will compete for the starting middle linebacker job during his freshman year. He said what he's looking forward to most is getting a chance to compete.

Alderson-Broaddus, which played a mostly junior varsity schedule in 2012 as an independent, began recruiting Kroneberg before Bruggeman early in the 2012 season. Kroneberg eventually made a visit to the campus and not only liked head coach Dennis Creehan, but that he could receive financial help toward his education.

Kroneberg finished his senior season at Knoch in fine fashion, recording 102 tackles, 6.5 sacks and was an all-Greater Allegheny Conference first-team pick at linebacker.

Bruggeman first came into contact with Alderson-Broaddus about midseason. He was getting recruited by other D-II schools such as Indiana (Pa.) and California (Pa.). Penn State made an offer to have him play tight end as a preferred walk-on. But Alderson-Broaddus, which will compete in the Greater Midwest Athletic Conference, was his choice.

“It was a unique situation,” Bruggeman said. “It's a new football team, everyone starts fresh. I had an offer to play at Penn State and, I got an offer from (Alderson-Broaddus) and they said I would have the chance to compete for the starting quarterback job. Why would you want to wait two to three years to play at Penn-State when I can go to AB and give it all I've got and play right away.”

Bruggeman helped Knoch return to the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs a year after the Knights reached the championship game at Heinz Field. This past season, he completed 76 of his 157 passes for 1, 264 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Alderson-Broaddus will begin the season Sept. 7 at home against Pace University.

D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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