It was last winter when Jeff Hollenbach started to think about coaching one more football season at Pennridge and calling it career.
Hollenbach, who is his second stint as head coach of the Rams, informed his players Monday afternoon that he was stepping down after the team's Thanksgiving Day meeting with neighboring Quakertown.
"Honestly, as much as I enjoy coaching, I said to myself, 'There's more to life than football,' " he said. "And since we won two playoff games this year, I thought this was a good time to go out."
Hollenbach, 64, guided Pennridge to a 73-25 record and a share of five Suburban One League conference championships from 1997 to 2004.
He stepped away the first time, in part, for the opportunity to watch his son, Sam, who quarterbacked Pennridge in 2000 and 2001, play at the University of Maryland.
After focusing on his teaching career and the health-related issues of family members, Hollenbach returned to the sideline in 2013. He replaced Randy Cuthbert, who left to take the top job at Emmaus, outside Allentown.
"I thought to myself, 'This would be nice. It would get me thinking about something else,' " Hollenbach said at the time. "And I only wanted to coach at Pennridge. I didn't want to go anywhere else."
The Perkasie resident has guided the Rams to a 10-3 record this season. They defeated Quakertown and Perkiomen Valley in the first two rounds of the PIAA District 1 Class 6A playoffs before losing to Garnet Valley, 28-20, in a semifinal on Friday.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed the teams and coaches I've worked with over the years," he said. "I'll definitely miss it."
Hollenbach, who retired as a match teacher after 35 years in June, compiled a 112-47 overall record (.704 winning percentage) in 13 seasons at Pennridge. He was previously an assistant at Palisades, in Kintnersville, Bucks County, and Farmington in New Mexico.
Hollenbach played quarterback for Pennridge from 1968 to 1970 and started at Illinois in 1973 and 1974. He was in training camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1975, playing alongside fellow quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw, Joe Gilliam and Terry Hanratty and lasted until the final cut.
Hollenbach and his wife, Libby, have four children and six grandchildren. Sam Hollenbach is a mechanical engineer for Under Armour.
Jeff Hollenbach and the host Rams look to close with a win over Quakertown (7-3) at 10:15 a.m. at Helman Field. Pennridge holds a 55-28-5 advantage in the head-to-head series.
Neumann-Goretti (11-0) will take on District 4's Southern Columbia (13-0) in a Class 2A state quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Friday at Lehighton.
Southern Columbia, which is located about five miles south of Bloomsburg, earned its record seventh state crown in 2015 with a 49-14 romp over District 7's Aliquippa. Jim Roth's team won four straight Class A titles from 2003 to 2006.
The Tigers' wing-T offense is spurred by a trio of talented playmakers: quarterback Stone Hollenbach, running back Gaige Garcia and wide receiver Julian Fleming.
Hollenbach (no relation to Jeff Hollenbach) has connected on 113 of 179 throws for 2,121 yards and 25 touchdowns. Garcia has carried 152 times for 1,808 and 30 scores, and Fleming has 55 catches for 1,198 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Fleming has scholarship offers from Penn State, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Michigan State, and West Virginia, among others.
"We'll just come out there, be physical and play our style of football," Neumann-Goretti coach Albie Crosby said.
The Saints have Division I recruits in offensive guard Justin Johnson (Oregon), defensive tackle Christian Barmore (Temple) and running back Leddie Brown (West Virginia).