John Faller, Sweet Home high school head football coach, has been named the Buffalo Bills High School Football Coach of the Week.
The Panthers toppled Amherst 42-0 over the weekend to finish the regular season with a 7-0 record and clinch the top seed for the upcoming Class A playoffs. DJ Nettles caught a TD pass and intercepted two passes to lead the Panthers to the win.
"It's a great honor," said Faller, a 33-year veteran of Section VI football. "I appreciate that the Bills are recognizing the high school coaches for what they do. A lot of guys are deserving of it every week and I'm proud that they picked our program this time."
Sweet Home finished the regular season 7-0 despite having just two starters on offense and four on defense return from last year's New York State title team. "It's a different group of kids and a different team," Faller said. "All the assistant coaches have worked very hard to develop these kids."
Faller said that this season provided special challenges to his players and staff. "Even though these kids may not have been on the team last year, everyone is out to knock us off because we are the state champs," Faller said. "Some of the kids were asked to step up. For a lot of them it's their first time starting and it's satisfying to see this type of improvement over the year."
Faller's teams have posted an impressive record of 61-9 since the 2002 season. He has led 10 Sweet Home teams to Ralph Wilson Stadium for the Class A championship game and won three Section VI championships. Sweet Home has now won 20 straight games.
"The whole reason you coach is to get new kids every year and see if you can get them to be all they can be," he said.
Faller grew up in Rochester and was an All-Monroe County player at Greece Arcadia High School. He was a two-year starter at tailback for the University at Buffalo. He had just completed his senior year when UB dropped football following the 1970 season.
He was hired as a Physical Education teacher by the Sweet Home school district in 1974 and is still working at Maplemere Elementary School.
This is the 13th consecutive year of the Buffalo Bills Coach of the Week program. Each week during the 11-week high school football season, a committee appointed by the Buffalo Bills selects a head football coach as Coach of the Week.
The honorees receive a certificate signed by the Dick Jauron, Buffalo Bills head coach, Russ Brandon Buffalo Bills general manager/chief operating officer and Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner. They also receive a Buffalo Bills Coach of the Week cap and $1,000 donation to their school's football program from the Buffalo Bills Youth Foundation. Recognition of the winning coach will also be shown on the Buffalo Bills official website (www.buffalobills.com).
At the end of the season, one of the weekly award winners will be named Coach of the Year and will receive an additional $1,000 donation to the school's football program.
2009 Bills HS Football Coach of the Week Winners:
Week 1 - Kraig Kurzanski Williamsville South Billies
Week 2 - Jason Kolb Burgard Bulldogs
Week 3 - Chuck Tilley Eden Raiders
Week 4 - Jay Sirianni Southwestern Trojans
Week 5 - Len Jankiewicz Lancaster Trojans
Week 6 - Scott Zipp Cheektowaga Warriors
Week 7 – John Faller Sweet Home Panthers