The Detroit Lions have awarded Don Jess of Charlevoix High School the title of High School Football Coach of the Week for week seven of the 2023 season. Jess’s coaching saw the Rayders secure a commanding 64-14 victory over Mancelona. This game marked their sixth consecutive victory, pushing their impressive season record to 6-1.

Charlevoix’s Impressive Streak

The Rayders, under Jess’s leadership, currently hold the 9th rank in Division 7. Charlevoix football fans are eagerly awaiting the team’s next game on Saturday, October 14, when Charlevoix is set to face Tawas for only the second time in the schools’ history.

A Coach with Deep Roots

As Charlevoix HS alumnus, Don Jess is adding to his local legacy. His commitment as head football coach for the Rayders has spanned two distinct periods. Initially, from 2003-2011 and then starting again in 2019. In his 14th year as the head coach, Jess has seen the Rayders reach the playoffs eight times. Incredibly, the team made it to the playoffs for the last four consecutive years. Jess’s overall coaching career boasts a record of 78-54, a win percentage of 59.1%.

In an exclusive interview, the Detroit Lions Football Education team discussed various topics with Jess. From the Rayders’ winning streak to the upcoming game against Tawas and his passion for mentoring student-athletes, the insights were profound. Fans can catch the full conversation and Jess’s reaction to the honor here.

High School Coach Recognition Program

The Lions have a longstanding tradition of appreciating high school football coaches who exemplify excellence on and off the field. These coaches play a pivotal role in molding young athletes’ character, ensuring their safety, and promoting the spirit of the game.

A distinguished panel, comprising football media personalities, selects the winner each week. The 2023 season will witness the Detroit Lions and the NFL Foundation donating $12,000 to support high school football in Michigan. Every weekly winner will receive a $1,000 grant for their school’s football initiatives. Moreover, the season’s High School Football Coach of the Year will get a $3,000 donation. The program, now in its 27th year, has already contributed $491,000 to Michigan’s high school football scene.

For those interested in more details, you can reach out to Chris Fritzsching, Lions Executive Director of Football Education, via email here:

About the NFL Foundation

The NFL Foundation strives to make a difference in the lives of football enthusiasts at all levels. Representing all 32 NFL clubs, the foundation aims to enhance athletes’ well-being, promote youth football, and uplift communities that are the backbone of the sport.


For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21


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Original Photo Credit: © Drew Kochanny /News-Review / USA TODAY NETWORK

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By Published On: October 12th, 2023Categories: Detroit Lions, NFL

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