Rich Harris, Kenmore West head football coach, has been named the Buffalo Bills High School Football Coach of the Week after leading his team to a 30-22 win over defending state champion North Tonawanda this past weekend.
"I felt good going into the game," Harris said. "We had a real good scrimmage the week before. We were physical and we controlled the line of scrimmage."
Junior running back Martin Bailey rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries to lead the Blue Devils. Bailey ran for scores of 53 and 47 yards and also was on the receiving end of a 53-yard touchdown.
Harris says that he felt more confidant after watching a tape of North Tonawanda's scrimmage.
"They looked as powerful as they had in the past," he said, "but I thought we could take advantage of a few things against their defense."
Harris said that a win over North Tonawanda is a huge boost for the Kenmore West program.
"North Tonawanda is a game that our kids really look forward to playing each year," Harris said. "The whole division does. North Tonawanda has been the standard in our division for several years." The Blue Devils led 15-8 at the half and 24-8 after three quarters. "I was trying to stay grounded," Hartris said. "I was thinking that we have got to hang onto the football and run the clock. But a lot of things can happen in a quarter of football."
NT pulled within 24-22 with four minutes left to play. The Lumberjacks tried an onside kick but Ken West recovered. On the first play from scrimmage, Bailey ran 53 yards for a touchdown to dent the comeback. The defense held to finish the upset.
"I'm excited," Harris said. "The kids really opened my eyes. All coaches see potential and we always think we can win. But, this was a really big win and I think they made a statement to themselves."
Harris has coached at Kenmore West for 26 seasons, the last 10 as the head varsity coach. His record is now 32-47 with three playoff seasons on his resume.
Harris also played high school football at Kenmore West, graduating in 1980. He was twice named an all-league player. He also played Division III football at the University at Buffalo from 1982 to 1984.
Harris is grateful for the $1,000 gift that comes with the award.
"We'll put the money to some new equipment," Harris said. "We'll put it toward something that the kids can use."
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 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 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)