The Buffalo Bills and ADPRO Sports are proud to once again partner to recognize some of the best coaches that Western New York has to offer through the 2021 High School Football Coach of the Week Program.
The Bills and ADPRO Sports will be awarding varsity head coaches with the Coach of the Week Award to highlight not only their team's achievements on the field, but also some of the work they are doing off the field in their communities. We will announce winners from the Buffalo and Rochester Regions over the course of 11 weeks, with both regions Coach of the Year being named at halftime of the Bills vs Falcons game on Jan. 2, 2022 at Highmark Stadium.
Each Coach of the Week winner will receive an $1,000 grant from the Buffalo Bills and ADPRO Sports. The respective Coach of the Year winners will also receive an additional $1,000 for their programs.
Winners will be selected by a panel of local high school football experts based on nominations which include information on the coach's commitment to their community and school, team academic performance, team off-the-field community service, coach/team support of youth football in their community, and health and safety protocols for their players.
Buffalo Region Coach of the Week #7
Hamburg coach Jeff Tripp was named the Week 7 Buffalo Bills and ADPRO Sports Buffalo Region Coach of the Week after leading the Bulldogs to a 20-16 win over defending Section VI Class A champion South Park.
Taking this win over the Sparks was crucial for the Bulldogs, which gave them their first postseason berth since 2015.
- Hamburg jumped out early, going up 14-0 in the second quarter once RB Devin Collins charged for a 7-yard score and QB Nolan Heavern linked with his other RB Ryan Gomolka for a 46-yard touchdown strike.
- The Bulldogs 'D' was strong throughout, shutting the Sparks out until their third quarter TD. Despite that score, Hamburg would put more pressure on South Park in the fourth quarter once Gomolka found paydirt again on a 12-yard reception from Heavern.
- South Park did manage another trip to the end zone before the action subsided, but Hamburg was then able to sit on the ball to take the victory and a 5-2 overall record. Gomolka played a major role in the win, as his two TD's, 86 yards from scrimmage (24 rushing, 62 receiving) and interception on defense all factored in.
- The Bulldogs defense was led by Jack Coots (5.5 tackles), Derek Benningfield (5 tackles) and Cameron Viavada (1 sack).
- Tripp played high school football at Amherst under his father, Tom. The younger Tripp was named an All-Western New York selection and lifted the Tigers to a win over Grand Island in the Section VI Class B1 title game in 1993 in the Bills' home stadium. He then played tight end at Division I FCS New Hampshire for four seasons.
- In the late 1990s, Tripp began his coaching career when he was hired as an assistant coach at Williamsville South.
- Tripp joined the Hamburg football staff in 2007 and was named head coach in 2016. He currently teaches special education at Hamburg High School.
In the Community
- Coach Tripp is most notably connected to the Hamburg community through his time coaching and teaching in the school district. But in past years, he and his staff have held youth football camps to instruct children on proper technique at the beginner's level.
- Bulldogs athletic director Pat Cauley advocated for Tripp when sharing thoughts about him being a Coach of the Week candidate:
- "Coach Tripp is a hard working and dedicated coach who works very hard to help our students and athletes grow athletically, academically, socially and morally."
- The Bulldogs football team was awarded a NYSPHSAA scholar-athlete award for maintaining an average of 92% overall in the spring of 2021. In total, 13 players qualified for individual selections.
Health & Safety
- In addition to following all state, county and district COVID protocols, Hamburg's program follows USA Football's safe tackling program/protocols.
Youth Football Connection
- For many years, Tripp and the Bulldogs staff has been working with the Hamburg Little Loop and Boston Little Loop programs and hosting their teams at halftime of home varsity games.
- Coach Tripp and his wife, Kelly, have three children, aged 16, 13 and 11.
Rochester Region Coach of the Week #7
McQuaid Jesuit head coach Bobby Bates was named the Week 7 Buffalo Bills and ADPRO Sports Rochester Region Coach of the Week after his Knights earned a 22-21 victory over arch-rival Aquinas.
With roughly 4,000 fans in attendance at St. John Fisher College in a battle of New York State top-10 Class AA programs, McQuaid dropped the Little Irish from the undefeated ranks to get to 7-0. The Knights are currently NYS's No. 2-ranked team in AA.
- After trailing 6-0 in the first quarter, Knights QB John Mahar hit WR Xaye Collier on a crossing pattern and Collier ran for a 20-yard touchdown to help give McQuaid the lead.
- AQ retook the lead once play resumed after a lightning delay, but the Knights responded quickly by stopping the Little Irish's 2-point play. RB Sean Oberlief would get McQuaid back on the board from there in the third quarter, setting up Mahar to find Collier for a 2-point play and a 15-12 lead.
- The Little Irish would notch a field goal to tie things at 15, but Collier would make AQ pay on its next offensive possession. The junior would pick off Little Irish QB Mykel White, clearing the way for Mahar to connect for his second TD toss of the game.
- Although AQ got back in the end zone again, Collier saved his best for last with a pass deflection on a 2-point attempt, ultimately leading to Henry Coke's game-saving INT.
- Bates is in his ninth season in two stints as head coach at McQuaid, as he has compiled a 68-17 record there. He first served as head coach from 2009-12, before spending two seasons at Irondequoit. After helping guide the Eagles to a Section V Class A championship and Far West Regional title in 2014, Bobby then returned to McQuaid as the offensive coordinator in 2015 under his older brother, Dan.
- Bobby was then re-named head coach in 2017. In this second stint under the younger Bates brother, the Knights have won the last two sectional Class AA titles, were a AA state finalist in 2019 and have made five trips to Section V title games.
- In the last 28 games played as a program, the Knights are 27-1, with the lone loss being to New Rochelle in the 2019 AA state final.
- McQuaid has also earned two Rochester Chapter of Certified Football Officials team sportsmanship awards on Bates' watch.
- Outside of coaching football at McQuaid, Bates is the JV golf coach there and serves as a physical education teacher at the school.
In the Community
- Bates and his staff annually partake in the Christmas Angels Project by providing gifts for elementary school kids in the City of Rochester. Bates is also involved with the Rochester Red Wings' Camp Day and outdoor cleanups throughout the Flower City.
- Astoundingly, the Knights have maintained a 100% graduation rate under Bates. McQuaid football has also been honored with two Section V scholar-athlete team awards in Bates' time with the program.
- In the fall II sports season played this past spring, the Knights were also honored by NYSPHSAA as a scholar-athlete team and had 29 players representing the program with individual honors.
Health & Safety
- Bates and his fellow McQuaid coaches have an emphasis on preventing heat-related illness by having players do mandatory weigh-ins — they do not accept any more than a 2% body weight drop in a 24 hour period — as well as post-practice ice baths.
- The Knights prep their bodies for the rigors of the season by training all throughout the year in a regimented strength and conditioning program.
- McQuaid also uses impact testing for concussion protocols and has administered the USA Football tackling techniques for its players.
Youth Football Connection
- The McQuaid football program is most connected to youth football through its modified program. Bates and his staff have emphasized building up from the modified and freshman teams at the school, as the Knights currently have 156 kids in total in grades 7-12 from the modified squad all the way up to the varsity team — a figure which has grown by 63 in just the last five years.
- Coach Bates and his wife, Rachel, have been married for six years. They have a 3-year-old son named Augie.