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 #11
Medina head coach Eric Valley was named the Week 11 Buffalo Bills and ADPRO Sports Buffalo Region Coach of the Week after his Mustangs won 58-6 against Fredonia in the Section VI Class C Final.
Medina (11-0), New York State's No. 1 team in Class C, was able to earn its second straight sectional title and has won 17 consecutive games as a program dating back to last spring's fall sports II season.
- The Mustangs had a virtuoso performance in snowy conditions, as they set a new Section VI championship game record for team rushing yards (590). Do-it-all playmaker Greg Thompson (262 yards, 4 touchdowns), All-Western New York QB Xander Payne (192 yards, 3 TDs) and FB Noah Skinner (115 yards, TD, 4 converted 2-point plays) took turns giving the Hillbillies defense fits in their first win at the Bills home stadium since 1988.
- As strong as Medina played on offense, the defense was outstanding in its own right. The Mustangs held Fredonia to 170 yards of total offense, a season-low point total and limited fellow All-WNY QB Nick Whitfield from accounting for multiple TDs for the first time all season. Entering the matchup, Fredonia had averaged 32.1 points per game.
- With the win, the Mustangs set up a New York State Public High School Athletic Association Far West Regional matchup with Section V's East Rochester/Gananda. Another victory for Medina would give the program its first regional football championship.
- Coach Valley is a lifelong resident of Medina. He played LB and FB at Medina, graduating in 1991. He went on to play 4 years at SUNY Cortland, playing TE and FB for the Red Dragons.
- Valley is now in his 26th season as a coach with the Mustangs, with the first 12 coming as an assistant, and the last 14 as head coach (71-53 record as HC). Since coming on in 1996, Valley has helped Medina win four divisional titles and claim back-to-back sectional titles for the first time in the football program's history.
- In addition to coaching varsity football, Valley has volunteered as a coach at multiple levels of youth sports throughout the years. He's coached JV football, modified wrestling, modified basketball, varsity girls basketball, and JV and varsity boys lacrosse at Medina.
- In addition to his in-school duties as an art teacher, Valley has also served as Medina's athletic director and is now the athletic coordinator. Valley also organizes and runs the Mustangs' end of the year sports department banquet, oversees the Medina sports hall of fame and wall of fame committees and induction ceremonies.
In the Community
- Valley has formed multiple fundraisers for families in need over the years. He donated 22 new mattresses to the Ministry of Concern of Orleans County for needy families just this year and has done charity work with their organization over the years. He also organizes and runs an annual golf tournament and festival to raise money for Medina athletics and other charities in that community.
- Valley is a member of the Mustang sports boosters and is involved with all of their charitable events. He regularly secures donations from alumni, to support athletics and scholarships. He's supportive of the various youth sports leagues in the Medina community and seeks ways to improve the community through various sports (Valley started volunteer coaching in 1990 through the YMCA). He has volunteered to coach flag football, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer and lacrosse.
Valley has had several scholar-athlete teams in his tenure, most recently his 2019 squad that was recognized by the NYSPHSAA. On that squad, nine players qualified for the statewide honor. Over the last eight seasons, Valley has coached four scholar-athlete teams.
Health & Safety
Valley ensures he and his staff are always up to date on the latest safety protocols. His emphasis on player safety is shown through proper equipment for athletes and he works closely with the school's athletic trainer. Valley provides his players with fresh fruit and healthy snacks daily as well, to help promote better nutrition.
Youth Football Connection
Coach Valley works closely with Medina's local youth football organization — Medina LOYAL football. He has provided clinics for their coaches, has met with individual coaches to review coaching schemes, techniques and drill work. Valley also attends the program's youth games on a regular basis.
Valley and his wife, Laura, have a son (Tyler) and a daughter (Lydia).
Rochester Region Coach of the Week #11
Canandaigua Academy head coach Jeff Welch was named the Week 11 Buffalo Bills and ADPRO Sports Rochester Region Coach of the Week following his team's 16-14 win over University Prep in the Section V Class A final. Canandaigua (11-0) continued its dominance in recent years, claiming its third consecutive sectional championship to set up a Far West Regional matchup at Section VI's Jamestown (11-0) on Friday.
Canandaigua has been nearly impeccable in that stretch, downing 28 straight Section V opponents. No Rochester-area team has bested the program since Sept. 5, 2019.
- Canandaigua QB Bryan Boldrin opened up the scoring with an 11-yard TD connection to WR Mark McClary. RB Elliot Morgan put Canandaigua up 13-0 in the second quarter, as he scored a TD from 14 yards out.
- Things got murky a bit in the second half, as the Griffins came back and took the lead, 14-13. But after Boldrin helped guide Canandaigua drive downfield late in the fourth, Eric Platten was able to connect on a game-winning, 25-yard field goal from 25 yards with 33 seconds to play.
- Morgan had the top performance for the three-peating sectional champs, as his TD was matched by 120 yards from scrimmage. Now NYS's No. 2 Class A team in Canandaigua looks ahead to a contest between against Class A's No. 3-ranked team, as the Red Raiders play host for the regional crown.
- Welch, 38, is in his 11th season as head coach at Canandaigua. He's posted a record of 73-28 over his tenure. Since 2012, Canandaigua football has been at or above .500 each season under coach Welch.
- Welch also played football and lacrosse at Ithaca College.
In the Community
- Welch has led Canandaigua football in doing various service projects in the community, including most recently at the Canandaigua Veterans Administration, doing manual labor to assist with cleanup.
- The Canandaigua head coach also has his JV and varsity players volunteer as coaches with the youth players in the Frank Baker football program.
Canandaigua has had several football players earn scholar-athlete awards, including 11 players from the 2019 team earning NYSPHSAA recognition.
Health & Safety
Coach Welch oversees the football program's strength training using the PLT4M software programming. Welch also provides training to staff and players on safe tackling (USA Football system) and hydration is a big priority he emphasizes as well.
Youth Football Connection
As stated prior, coach Welch has been working with the Frank Baker youth program over the years outside of his role with Canandaigua's varsity squad. He oversees all components of the program, including the ordering and distribution of equipment, training coaches and securing practice space in the city.
Coach Welch's wife is named Maren, and they have two children — Lilah and Cullen.