Fredonia coach Bob Ball has been named the Buffalo Bills High School Football Coach of the Week after the Hillbillies 12-10 win over Southwestern in the Class C championship game at Ralph Wilson Stadium last weekend.
It was Fredonia's first Section VI title since 1985 and the win snapped Southwestern's 38-game winning streak. It was Ball's first Coach of the Week Award.
"It's a reflection on our kids and on our program," Ball said. "It's great for our kids."
Southwestern was the two-time defending Class C New York State champion. The Trojans' streak was the longest in New York State and the fifth longest in the nation.
"Any time a team does that well, for that long, everyone starts gunning for you," Ball said. "Their kids earned that. But our kids wanted it and went out and got it. It was their moment."
It was Fredonia's first Section VI title in 25 years, and Ball was especially thrilled that the title came with a win over Southwestern.
"It's rewarding any time you beat Southwestern because they do everything the right way," Ball said. "The weight room, the practice, they do everything right. When you beat Southwestern that shows how good your own program is."
Fredonia was the last team to beat Southwestern. In the last game of the 2007 season, Fredonia won by a score of 20-17 as the Hillbillies made a late goal-line stand. Ball said that during the week leading up to the game, he did not emphasize the opponent or the streak.
"I asked our kids for some reasons that we wanted to win," he said. "The top reason we wanted to win was because we would get to play another game. We just want to keep playing. We are enjoying it and we don't want it to end."
Ball graduated from Fredonia in 1991 after playing quarterback and safety for the Hillbillies.
"I was a very average player," he said.
Ball attended the University of Alabama and worked as an assistant coach in high school while there.
"I wanted to go someplace warm," he said. "I thought about walking on to the football team. I took a look around and realized I was foolish. That's when I got into coaching. I had every intention of staying there, but the job opened up back here and I applied for it."
Ball has coached at Fredonia for 14 seasons. He was the head JV coach for three seasons and landed the head job in 1999. He has a 52-43 record at Fredonia and his team has played in Ralph Wilson Stadium twice.
This is the 14th consecutive year of the Buffalo Bills High School Football 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 the High School Football Coach of the Week.
The honorees will receive an official certificate from the commissioner of the NFL, plus a Bills Coach of the Week cap and a $1,000 donation to the school's football program from the Buffalo Bills Youth Foundation. Recognition of the winning coach will 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 the High School Football Coach of the Year and will receive an additional $1,000 donation to the school's football program.
2010 Coach of the Week Winners:
Week 1 – Rich Harris (Kenmore West Blue Devils)
Week 2 – Tom Goddard (Clarence Red Devils)
Week 3 – Ed Wilson (McKinley Macks)
Week 4 – Brandon Harris (Canisius Crusaders)
Week 5 – Dennis Gilbert (St. Joe's Marauders)
Week 6 – Jay Sirianni (Southwestern Trojans)
Week 7 – Pat Slater (Randolph Cardinals)
Week 8 – Bruce Slater (Lackawanna Steelers)
Week 9 – Dick Diminuco (Alden Bulldogs)
Week 10 – Bob Ball (Fredonia Hillbillies)