Jeremy Zimmer and Dennis Thomas have been named as the Bills ADPRO Sports high school coaches of the week for the Buffalo and Rochester regions, respectively.
Both coaches will receive $1,000 for their football programs and were selected for their commitment to their communities and their teams. The Buffalo and Rochester Coaches of the Year will be named during the Bills' Week 17 home game against the New England Patriots.
Buffalo Region Coach of the Week #4
Sweet Home High School's Jeremy Zimmer is the Buffalo region's coach of the week after his team defeated Grand Island, who entered the game with a perfect record, 22-13 to move into first place in the A-2 Division. After entering the half tied 7-7, Sweet Home scored a touchdown with 2:30 left in the 4th quarter and went for two to make it a two-score game.
Quarterback Rocco Panepinto went 5-for-14 for 148 yards and a touchdown while running back Daquan Stone rushed 20 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Steven Butler caught three passes for 88 yards and scored a 69-yard touchdown as well as the two-point conversion that sealed the win.
Zimmer has coached at Sweet Home for the past 26 seasons and was named as the program's head coach in 2018. He was part of the Panthers' 36-game winning streak and helped the team go undefeated against Western New York competition for seven consecutive seasons.
His coaching philosophy is "We over Me" and his favorite football memory is when he served as an assistant coach under Hall of Fame head coach John Faller as Sweet Home won back-to-back NYS championships in 2008 and 2009.
The team will travel to Sweet Home's elementary schools to read to younger children in the district in the spring.
Rochester Region Coach of the Week #4
Dennis Thomas, head coach at True North Rochester Prep High School, is the coach of the week for the Rochester region. In the school's first season with a football team, Thomas led the program to its first-ever victory this weekend.
Quarterback Tyler Benjamin threw for 266 yards, with 248 going to receiver Jamier Walters, who also had two touchdowns. Defensive back Jameir Doyle had two interceptions and a 45-yard kick return.
Thomas got his start coaching with the Buffalo Ducks Little League Organization. From 2019-22 he was the defensive coordinator for the Bishop Kearney High School varsity football team, spending one season as assistant head coach. This is his first year as a head coach.
Thomas believes that football is more than just a game.
"I believe that, if coached correctly, the game of football can be used as both a great teaching tool and a great opportunity," Thomas wrote on his coaching philosophy. "Football at the high school level is an opportunity to teach young men values such as character, teamwork, pride, honor, respect, loyalty and performance under adversity."
Thomas described himself as a "players' coach" and said he wants the team atmosphere to feel like that of a family. His favorite football memory is his most recent win - his first as a head coach.