The Buffalo Bills are once again proudly partnering with ADPRO Sports in 2019 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. During the 2019 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. 29, for a pregame ceremony prior to kickoff against the New York Jets. 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.
To kick off the initiative, Jeremy Zimmer, head coach of the Sweet Home Panthers, and Bob Bates, head coach of the McQuaid Knights were named the High School Coaches of the Week for Week 1.
As the Buffalo Region Coach of the Week, Zimmer helped his team orchestrate a big 40-28 win over Williamsville South on Friday, Sept. 6, to open the season. With senior signal caller Jamel Lucas at the helm, the Panthers started out strong, leading the Billies 26-6 going into the third quarter. Putting together successful drives, Williamsville South tied the score in the third. Sweet Home had other plans, however. Tallying another 14 points in the second half, the Panthers did what they had to do to solidify the win.
Lucas finished the matchup with an outstanding five touchdowns. Completing 10 of his 14 pass attempts for 234 yards passing and two touchdowns, the quarterback also rushed for 117 yards and another three scores. On defense, senior linebacker Miquan Barnes was credited with three turnovers, compiling a fumble recovery and interceptions – one of which was a pick 6.
Up next, the Panthers will be back on the road to take on West Seneca East. The game is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m.
Bates was named the Rochester Region Coach of the Week after his squad pulled off a narrow 27-21 victory over their top rival the Aquinas Li'l Irish. Coming into the contest, McQuaid was looking to get their first win against Aquinas since 2006, which is exactly what happened. Making history, the Knights snapped the streak as they played in the first-ever football game held at the home of the Red Wings. Getting things started for McQuaid, was quarterback Joe Cairns whose 17-yard touchdown pass to TE Jordan Brongo put the Knights on the board to even the game at 7-7.
That trip to the end zone was all McQuaid needed to find a rhythm on offense. Scoring three consecutive touchdowns, the Knights held a 20-point lead with nine minutes left on the clock. Never quitting, Aquinas staged a comeback to put the score at 27-21. From there, the Knights recovered an onside kick, ran the clock out and took home the "W." Senior ball carrier Andrew Passero finished the game with 190 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 34 tries. Junior cornerback James Doerr led the defense with five tackles and an interception.
McQuaid will look to get their second straight win this Saturday, Sept. 14, as they play Pittsford at 7 p.m. at home.
Check back on buffalobills.com each week for the announcement of the Coach of the Week winners and tune in to "One Bills Live," presented by Kaleida Health, 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!