Steve McDuffie & Steve Donlon earn Bills-ADPRO Sports high school coach of the week honors

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 2022 High School Football Coach of the Week Program.

The Bills and ADPRO Sports will be awarding varsity head tackle football 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 region’s Coach of the Year being named during the Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots game in January of 2023 at Highmark Stadium.

Each Coach of the Week winner will receive a $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.

Buffalo Region Coach of the Week #6

Bennett head coach Steve McDuffie has been named the week six Buffalo Region Coach of the Week after leading his Tigers to a 20-7 win over Lancaster. Bennett entered the game ranked #2 in WNY while Lancaster was ranked #1. Bennett is now 4-2, losing only to Pennsylvania powerhouse Erie McDowell and Ohio powerhouse Austin Finch.

“I was really proud of the kids,” McDuffie said. “We were running the ball against a very tough defense.”

Bennett led 12-0 at the half. In the second quarter, Bennett’s Jayden Lewis broke free on a 79-yard reverse for a TD, but the play was called back by holding. On the very next play, Lewis caught a short pass that he took 93 yards for a TD and a 6-0 lead. Bennett scored again in the 2nd quarter when Antonio Davis capped an 80-yard TD drive with a 1-yard QB sneak for a 12-0 lead. In the third quarter, Bennett extended the lead to 20-0 when the Tigers drove 84 yards for a TD. Darnell Hamilton punched in a 2-yard TD to finish the drive.

“I want to give my kids the best opportunity to play against the best competition we can find,” McDuffie said. “Playing this type of schedule will help our kids down the road and get them more opportunities for scholarships.”

Coach McDuffie’s coaching career started as a volunteer at Grover Cleveland in 1997, then he moved to St. Joe’s as an assistant coach from 1999-2003. In 2010, McDuffie was named Head coach at Bennett and has led the football program for 12 seasons now.

During his time as head coach, McDuffie won 104 games at Bennett. He has led the Tigers to the Section 6 title game six times, winning two championships. McDuffie also led his 2021 team to the NYS championship game at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

The head coach has a football career of his own after playing high school football at Grover Cleveland and then four years at the University at Buffalo. And in 1991, McDuffie was First team All-Western NY as a senior.

Coach McDuffie, Bennett players, and staff contribute to the Archie L. Hunter community outreach mentoring program with YMCA Buffalo Niagara each year. The group raises funds with an annual track meet and an annual fund-raiser on Martin Luther King Day.

The head coach also played a large part in the resurgence of the Westside little league football program.

In making sure his players are safe on the field and at a smaller risk of head and neck injuries, Coach McDuffie has implemented USA football tackling techniques into his program.

Rochester Region Coach of the Week #6

Canisiteo-Greenwood coach Steve Donlon has been named the week six Rochester Coach of the Week after leading his 8-man team to a 36-6 win over Bolivar-Richburg last week. Both teams entered the game 5-0 and came into the game ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the rankings for section V 8-man football.

“This is the first year that we’ve played 8-man football,” Donlon said. “We have a small senior class so 8-man was the right thing to do. We will go back to 11-man football next year.”

In the win over Bolivar-Richburg, CG scored on their first offensive play of the game when QB Collin Cox tossed a 60-yard TD pass to JJ Reese and a 6-0 lead. Later in the 2nd quarter, CG added to the lead when Cox hit Paiton Davis with a 6-yard TD pass and a 14-0 lead. Boliver pulled within 14-6 but CG scored with :08 left in the half to extend the lead to 22-6. Reese caught a 10-yard TD pass from Cox, who completed 4 of 6 passes for 85 yards and 3 TDs, to cap the drive.

“We don’t do a lot of passing,” Donlon said. “I think we have thrown 12 passes all year. He had a great game.”

Coach Donlon has been the head coach at CG for 3 seasons and served as an assistant from 2000-2007. He spent 12 years as an assistant at Hornell under the legendary Gene Mastin and won 3 NYS titles in his time with the program. And before coming to CG, Donlon was part of a 51-game winning streak as an assistant coach at Vornell.

Coach Donlon has taught history at Alfred-Almond High School for 20 years.

Outside of football, Coach Donlon is involved with the local Ancient Order of Hibernians which raises money for worthy local charities. Donlon puts an emphasis on being great on the field and off, as he’s all about helping his players grow into young adults of great character.