Len Jankiewicz, Lancaster head football coach has been named the Buffalo Bills High School Football Coach of the Week after his #2 ranked Redskins beat the #1 ranked and defending state champion Quakers of Orchard Park by a 9-7 score. The victory snapped Orchard Park?s winning streak at 18 games.
Lancaster junior Alex Debbins nailed a 21-yard field goal in the final seconds to cap the Lancaster (5-0, 4-0 Class AA South) game-winning drive which began on its own 27 yard line. The Redskins hadn't beaten the Quakers (4-1, 3-1) since a 15-13 win in 2004.
Senior quarterback Justin Juda had a strong second half leading the Redskins on their final drive. He finished the game with 112 yards rushing and another 82 yards in the air. His one touchdown pass was a pretty fourth-down, 15-yard pass to Sean Pantling (3 catches, 37 yards) who reeled it in for the touchdown.
Lancaster?s defense held the Quaker?s offense in check and only gave up one touchdown, a one-yard score by running back Okoya Anderson who had 105 yards rushing on 31 carries.
?It was a good week for the kids,? said Jankiewicz.
Jankiewicz said that his team has had several injuries to overcome in recent weeks. Entering the week, the Redskins were already missing both starting offensive tackles and 2-way starter Eric Rindo. The team?s leading wide receiver Andy Mrozek was lost in the 1st quarter to a shoulder injury.
?These kids had a lot to put up with,? Jankiewicz said. ?In spite of winning a football game and beating Orchard Park, it?s more important for me that these kids can overcome adversity and keep their fighting instinct.?
?Every team faces injuries through the season,? Jankiewicz said. ?It?s how the kids respond to them that?s important.?
Jankiewicz grew up in Lancaster and played varsity football for the Redskins under legendary coach Joe Foyle. He gradauted in 1969, and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Instead, he chose to play baseball and football at Brockport where he was a 2-sport captain and named an All-Conference first baseman.
Jankiewicz has worked for the Lancaster School District for 36 years. He started as a math teacher and an assistant coach under Foyle. He was named the Redskins head football coach in 1986 and became the school?s full-time Athletic Director in 2002.
This is the 13th consecutive year of the Buffalo Bills 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 receive a certificate signed by the Dick Jauron, Buffalo Bills head coach, Russ Brandon Buffalo Bills general manager/chief operating officer and Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner. They also receive a Buffalo Bills Coach of the Week cap and $1,000 donation to their school?s football program from the Buffalo Bills Youth Foundation. Recognition of the winning coach will also 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.
2009 Coach of the Week Winners:
Week 1 Kraig Kurzanski Williamsville South Billies
Week 2 Jason Kolb Burgard Bulldogs
Week 3 Chuck Tilley Eden Raiders Week 4 Jay Sirianni Southwestern Trojans
Week 5 Len Jankiewicz Lancaster Redskins