The Buffalo Bills are once again proudly partnering with ADPRO Sports in 2018, to recognize some of the best high school football coaches Western New York has to offer, through the High School Coach of the Week program. Throughout the 2018 high school football season, the Bills and ADPRO Sports will recognize 11 coaches from both the Buffalo and Rochester regions on buffalobills.com. The winners will be selected by a committee of high school football experts from each region.
Winning coaches will receive a $1,000 grant for their school's football program, a framed certificate recognizing their accomplishment and an invitation to join the Bills on-field Dec. 16, for a pregame ceremony prior to kickoff against the Detroit Lions. At the game, a High School Coach of the Year will be honored from each region, with those winners receiving an additional $1,000 for their football program.
The Buffalo region Coach of the Week for Week 3 is Jerry Smith, longtime head coach of the St. Francis High School Red Raiders. On Friday, Sept. 14, Smith and the Red Raiders were faced with their second road game of the season, as they took on Walsh Jesuit – an Ohio-based team. Getting off to a slow start, the Red Raiders found themselves staring down an early 21-0 deficit. However, the team kept their composure and rallied to find the end zone.
Leading the way for the Red Raiders on offense was sophomore quarterback Jake Ritts who connected with junior running back Xzavier Janczylik on a 24-yard touchdown pass to pull the Red Raiders within seven points of Walsh Jesuit on the last play of the first half. Finding their rhythm, the Red Raiders came out in the second half and scored three touchdowns in eight minutes to lead Walsh Jesuit 35-28. After a hard-fought battle on both sides, St. Francis escaped with a narrow 42-40 victory over Walsh Jesuit, marking the team's first win in Ohio since 2004.
Ritts finished the game completing 12 of 21 pass attempts, 168 yards and four touchdowns. On defense, safety Thomas Bestpitch was a standout, compiling six solo tackles and 10 total. The St. Francis defense also totaled four interceptions during the game.
Next up, St. Francis will return home to play Cardinal O'Hara on Saturday, Sept. 22. Kickoff is schedule for 1 p.m.
The Rochester region Coach of the Week for Week 3 is Josh Henninger, head coach of Red Jacket High School. On Friday, Sept. 14, Red Jacket traveled to Clyde-Savannah High School to take on the defending Section V Class D champions, who came into the game undefeated. Red Jacket came out strong, building a comfortable 28-6 lead in the first half. On offense, Red Jacket running backs Logan Keifer and John Scharf paved the way on the ground, with Keifer totaling 193 yards and two touchdowns and Scharf close behind with 155 yards and one score.
The Red Jacket defense did its part as well. Jake Anderson had a convincing performance with nine tackles and Hunter Fitzpatrick finished the game with four tackles for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble.
With the 40-26 victory, Red Jacket has advanced to 2-1 on the campaign and is set to take on Cuba-Rushford on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m.
Check back on Buffalobills.com each week for the announcement of the Coach of the Week winners and tune in to One Bills Live each Tuesday afternoon to hear the winners announced on the show. Good luck to all of the high school football coaches this season from the Buffalo Bills and ADPRO Sports!