2019 Week 9 Football Playoff Listing

October 22, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Here is a list of Michigan High School Athletic Association football playing schools, displaying their win-loss records and playoff averages through the eighth week of the season.

Schools on this list are in enrollment order for 11-player teams, with 8-player teams ordered by playoff average. An asterisk (*) beside a record indicates a team has eight or fewer games scheduled.

Those schools with 11-player teams with six or more wins playing nine-game schedules, or five or more wins playing eight games or fewer, will qualify for the MHSAA Football Playoffs beginning Nov. 1. Schools with 5-4, 4-3 or 4-4 records may qualify if the number of potential qualifiers by win total does not reach the 256 mark. Schools with six or more wins playing nine-game schedules or five or more wins playing eight games or fewer may be subtracted from the field based on playoff average if the number of potential qualifiers exceeds the 256 mark.

Once the 256 qualifying schools are determined, they will be divided by enrollment groups into eight equal divisions of 32 schools, and then drawn into regions of eight teams each and districts of four teams each. Those schools with 8-player teams will be ranked by playoff average at season’s end, and the top 32 programs will then be divided into two divisions of 16 each based on enrollment. The playoffs in those divisions also begin Nov. 1.

To review a list of all football playoff schools, individual school playoff point details and to report errors, visit the Football page of the MHSAA Website.

The announcement of the qualifiers and first-round pairings for both the 11 and 8-player playoffs will take place Oct. 27 on the Selection Sunday Show on FOX Sports Detroit PLUS. The playoff qualifiers and pairings will be posted to the MHSAA Website following the Selection Sunday Show.

11-Player Playoff Listing

1. Macomb Dakota, 3034, 4-4, 51.875
2. Dearborn Fordson, 2868, 7-1, 92.875
3. Grand Blanc, 2719, 5-3, 65.125
4. East Kentwood, 2673, 5-3, 62.750
5. Utica Eisenhower, 2617, 6-2, 78.375
6. Sterling Heights Stevenson, 2498, 4-4, 57.500
7. Rockford, 2443, 7-1, 96.750
8. Lake Orion, 2416, 7-1, 93.750
9. Howell, 2391, 4-4, 50.625
10. Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, 2386, 8-0, 115.000
11. Detroit Cass Tech, 2372, 4-4, 52.500
12. Ann Arbor Pioneer, 2250, 4-4, 47.750
13. Canton, 2228, 4-4, 50.375
14. Brighton, 2224, 7-1, 90.875
15. Dearborn, 2152, 4-4, 50.625
16. Plymouth, 2090, 8-0, 103.000
17. Southfield Arts & Technology, 2067, 4-4, 50.375
18. Grand Haven, 2066, 4-4, 55.625
19. West Bloomfield, 2042, 7-1, 99.750
20. Detroit Catholic Central, 2024, 4-4, 65.875
21. Hartland, 2021, 4-4, 50.750
22. Hudsonville, 1930, 5-3, 70.875
23. Detroit Western, 1888, 5-3, 48.750
24. Saline, 1861, 7-1, 89.875
25. Utica Ford, 1812, 4-4, 49.250
26. Lapeer, 1792, 7-1, 99.750
27. Grandville, 1719, 7-1, 101.500
28. Holt, 1713, 6-2, 83.250
29. Rochester Adams, 1710, 6-2, 76.500
30. Davison, 1694, 7-1, 94.500
31. White Lake Lakeland, 1693, 6-2, 79.500
32. Belleville, 1692, 8-0, 105.000
33. Romeo, 1692, 6-2, 77.500
34. Traverse City West, 1663, 6-2, 82.625
35. Waterford Mott, 1658, 5-3, 59.125
36. Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, 1638, 5-3, 61.000
37. Brownstown Woodhaven, 1623, 8-0, 108.000
38. Warren Mott, 1513, 6-2, 74.625
39. Saginaw Heritage, 1512, 4-4, 47.875
40. Grosse Pointe South, 1510, 7-1, 91.750
41. Detroit U-D Jesuit, 1486, 5-3, 61.804
42. Temperance Bedford, 1466, 6-2, 77.125
43. Sterling Heights, 1464, 5-3, 65.125
44. Farmington *, 1444, 7-1, 87.875
45. Livonia Franklin, 1435, 6-2, 77.625
46. Harrison Township L'Anse Creuse, 1434, 5-3, 65.250
47. Dearborn Heights Crestwood, 1404, 4-4, 44.500
48. St. Clair Shores Lakeview, 1404, 6-2, 74.125
49. Traverse City Central, 1404, 7-1, 95.625
50. Warren De La Salle Collegiate, 1404, 5-3, 72.925
51. Livonia Churchill, 1392, 4-4, 51.000
52. Lansing Everett, 1388, 4-4, 48.625
53. Wyandotte Roosevelt, 1386, 6-2, 74.500
54. North Farmington, 1371, 8-0, 102.000
55. Birmingham Seaholm, 1370, 5-3, 65.125
56. Portage Central, 1359, 4-4, 50.875
57. Battle Creek Lakeview, 1350, 8-0, 101.000
58. Flushing, 1326, 4-4, 50.875
59. Birmingham Groves, 1310, 7-1, 98.750
60. Midland, 1309, 8-0, 102.000
61. Port Huron, 1309, 5-3, 57.125
62. Midland Dow, 1287, 5-3, 61.625
63. Port Huron Northern, 1284, 7-1, 88.625
64. Oak Park, 1276, 7-1, 94.750
65. South Lyon, 1276, 7-1, 92.750
66. Portage Northern, 1274, 7-1, 87.625
67. St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, 1237, 4-4, 48.250
68. Jackson *, 1231, 5-3, 55.250
69. Walled Lake Western, 1228, 7-1, 98.750
70. Muskegon Mona Shores, 1227, 6-2, 78.625
71. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, 1219, 6-2, 77.500
72. Dexter, 1214, 7-1, 85.875
73. Detroit Renaissance, 1205, 4-4, 48.161
74. Alpena, 1194, 4-4, 53.500
75. Ferndale, 1180, 4-4, 49.750
76. Mattawan, 1173, 4-4, 50.375
77. Fenton, 1168, 7-1, 94.750
78. Detroit Martin Luther King, 1158, 6-2, 83.250
79. Lowell, 1152, 4-4, 47.304
80. Byron Center, 1145, 8-0, 105.000
81. Auburn Hills Avondale, 1133, 4-4, 45.375
82. Grand Rapids Northview, 1130, 5-3, 59.625
83. Muskegon Reeths-Puffer, 1129, 5-3, 58.250
84. Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice, 1128, 5-3, 74.891
85. Allen Park, 1127, 6-2, 80.250
86. Gibraltar Carlson, 1127, 6-2, 72.929
87. East Lansing, 1119, 6-2, 88.375
88. Redford Thurston, 1084, 7-1, 81.750
89. Zeeland West, 1054, 7-1, 94.875
90. Pinckney, 1053, 6-2, 69.625
91. Mount Pleasant, 1048, 6-2, 69.375
92. Garden City, 1030, 5-3, 57.875
93. St. Joseph, 1019, 6-2, 76.500
94. Cedar Springs, 1018, 7-1, 94.250
95. DeWitt, 1013, 6-2, 87.375
96. Detroit Mumford, 1007, 5-3, 53.000
97. River Rouge, 992, 7-1, 77.845
98. Mason, 964, 8-0, 99.000
99. East Grand Rapids, 959, 5-3, 60.250
100. Marquette, 957, 4-4, 52.875
101. Muskegon, 954, 8-0, 109.000
102. Flint Kearsley, 951, 6-2, 76.500
103. Zeeland East, 943, 5-3, 59.946
104. Orchard Lake St. Mary's, 942, 7-1, 100.931
105. Coldwater, 940, 7-1, 84.875
106. St. Johns, 938, 5-3, 60.125
107. Eastpointe, 926, 5-3, 68.750
108. Riverview, 915, 6-2, 65.625
109. Trenton, 914, 4-4, 53.875
110. Stevensville Lakeshore, 904, 4-4, 46.625
111. Dearborn Divine Child, 878, 4-4, 52.054
112. Parma Western, 870, 6-2, 68.625
113. Marysville, 869, 5-3, 57.375
114. Edwardsburg, 856, 8-0, 90.000
115. Spring Lake, 856, 4-4, 41.875
116. Chelsea, 847, 8-0, 104.000
117. Fowlerville, 834, 6-2, 70.625
118. Marshall, 825, 4-4, 46.875
119. Ortonville Brandon, 825, 7-1, 79.625
120. Cadillac, 824, 5-3, 57.250
121. Redford Union, 823, 5-3, 60.000
122. Grand Rapids Christian, 822, 6-2, 75.500
123. Carleton Airport, 815, 5-3, 55.250
124. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, 811, 5-3, 58.161
125. Plainwell, 808, 4-4, 43.750
126. Fruitport, 805, 4-4, 44.000
127. Ada Forest Hills Eastern, 789, 4-4, 48.250
128. Imlay City, 780, 4-4, 37.625
129. Sparta, 780, 7-1, 75.750
130. St. Clair, 780, 7-1, 81.875
131. Hamilton, 778, 4-4, 40.250
132. Vicksburg, 764, 5-3, 53.250
133. Allendale, 756, 5-3, 52.000
134. Goodrich, 741, 6-2, 68.375
135. Milan, 738, 8-0, 93.000
136. North Branch, 736, 6-2, 62.625
137. Croswell-Lexington, 719, 4-4, 44.000
138. Holland Christian, 713, 4-4, 46.500
139. Escanaba, 708, 6-2, 76.458
140. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 705, 7-1, 85.159
141. Otsego, 683, 5-3, 54.125
142. Romulus Summit Academy North, 681, 6-2, 68.500
143. Sault Ste. Marie, 679, 5-3, 60.250
144. Detroit Country Day, 677, 8-0, 94.429
145. Paw Paw, 662, 8-0, 90.000
146. Ludington, 656, 6-2, 56.446
147. Warren Lincoln, 653, 4-4, 35.625
148. Flint Powers Catholic, 652, 6-2, 72.500
149. Harper Woods Chandler Park, 647, 4-4, 47.875
150. Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 628, 7-1, 89.625
151. Williamston, 621, 5-3, 58.000
152. Hudsonville Unity Christian, 618, 5-3, 61.000
153. Livonia Clarenceville, 602, 5-3, 39.875
154. Muskegon Orchard View, 602, 8-0, 84.714
155. Grand Rapids South Christian, 599, 4-4, 47.125
156. Benton Harbor, 598, 4-4, 44.641
157. Dowagiac, 596, 5-3, 58.250
158. Ogemaw Heights, 588, 6-2, 61.375
159. Portland, 580, 7-1, 82.875
160. Freeland, 579, 6-2, 66.500
161. Hancock, 579, 4-4, 32.875
162. Macomb Lutheran North, 574, 4-4, 45.250
163. Muskegon Oakridge, 574, 8-0, 83.000
164. Detroit Communication Media Arts, 567, 5-3, 40.500
165. Kingsford, 566, 4-4, 42.125
166. Essexville Garber, 561, 5-3, 54.125
167. Frankenmuth, 547, 8-0, 93.000
168. Saginaw Swan Valley, 544, 6-2, 68.625
169. Dearborn Heights Robichaud, 542, 7-1, 84.500
170. Midland Bullock Creek, 541, 6-2, 60.375
171. Grant, 539, 6-2, 62.125
172. Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard, 536, 4-4, 46.661
173. Remus Chippewa Hills, 526, 4-4, 43.875
174. Marine City, 521, 8-0, 103.000
175. Lansing Catholic, 520, 7-1, 76.750
176. Whitmore Lake, 520, 6-2, 48.000
177. Clawson, 515, 5-3, 49.625
178. Almont, 514, 8-0, 88.000
179. Hopkins, 514, 8-0, 84.000
180. Carrollton, 509, 4-4, 38.625
181. Detroit Denby, 508, 7-1, 82.625
182. Berrien Springs *, 505, 7-0, 84.000
183. Olivet, 505, 7-1, 75.500
184. Dundee, 497, 5-3, 51.875
185. Detroit Henry Ford, 492, 6-2, 67.500
186. Reed City, 490, 5-3, 56.750
187. Mt. Morris, 488, 4-4, 41.375
188. Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep, 483, 4-4, 40.482
189. Richmond, 476, 7-1, 82.875
190. Central Montcalm, 457, 7-1, 79.500
191. Kingsley, 454, 8-0, 90.000
192. Shepherd, 454, 5-3, 46.250
193. Onsted, 449, 6-2, 65.500
194. Montague, 446, 6-2, 60.500
195. Hillsdale, 445, 8-0, 89.000
196. Durand, 444, 4-4, 38.500
197. Clare, 442, 7-1, 71.875
198. Detroit Osborn, 441, 5-3, 50.875
199. Newaygo, 438, 5-3, 55.000
200. Menominee, 425, 5-3, 55.889
201. Boyne City, 423, 4-4, 42.125
202. Tawas *, 421, 4-4, 31.500
203. Flint Hamady *, 420, 6-1, 65.625
204. Perry, 420, 4-4, 35.875
205. Detroit Voyageur Prep, 415, 4-4, 35.375
206. Brooklyn Columbia Central, 414, 4-4, 38.625
207. Constantine, 412, 6-2, 59.732
208. Ishpeming Westwood, 412, 6-2, 62.625
209. Negaunee, 407, 6-2, 62.625
210. Adrian Madison, 398, 4-4, 36.625
211. Jonesville, 395, 6-2, 55.625
212. Clinton Township Clintondale, 392, 5-3, 46.125
213. Maple City Glen Lake, 389, 7-1, 69.875
214. Muskegon Catholic Central *, 387, 5-2, 57.768
215. Lake City, 386, 5-3, 45.250
216. Sanford Meridian, 386, 6-2, 63.625
217. Millington, 384, 4-4, 42.500
218. Harrison, 382, 4-4, 34.750
219. Blissfield, 381, 6-2, 67.750
220. Niles Brandywine, 378, 8-0, 80.000
221. Calumet, 377, 7-1, 78.875
222. Warren Michigan Collegiate, 375, 7-1, 78.589
223. Montrose, 374, 7-1, 77.875
224. Hemlock, 367, 6-2, 62.000
225. Ithaca, 362, 7-1, 68.625
226. Morley Stanwood, 360, 6-2, 62.482
227. Delton Kellogg, 358, 4-4, 38.250
228. Hanover-Horton, 352, 4-4, 34.375
229. Manchester, 349, 5-3, 44.375
230. Grass Lake, 347, 7-1, 64.750
231. Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central *, 347, 7-1, 81.875
232. Ravenna, 347, 6-2, 61.750
233. Byron, 342, 5-3, 55.125
234. Hartford, 341, 5-3, 37.125
235. Kent City, 340, 6-2, 53.500
236. Laingsburg, 338, 6-2, 51.625
237. North Muskegon, 338, 5-3, 45.125
238. Traverse City St. Francis, 337, 6-2, 67.625
239. Pewamo-Westphalia, 335, 8-0, 81.000
240. Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian, 333, 5-3, 38.250
241. Clinton, 328, 8-0, 82.000
242. Houghton Lake, 328, 6-2, 55.500
243. Schoolcraft, 328, 8-0, 83.000
244. L'Anse, 324, 4-4, 35.500
245. Detroit Leadership Academy, 322, 7-1, 76.750
246. Beaverton, 318, 8-0, 88.000
247. Charlevoix, 318, 5-3, 48.000
248. Ecorse, 317, 4-4, 37.750
249. Madison Heights Bishop Foley, 316, 5-3, 40.607
250. Springport, 316, 4-4, 30.375
251. Jackson Lumen Christi *, 314, 8-0, 101.000
252. Riverview Gabriel Richard, 313, 7-1, 70.500
253. McBain, 308, 5-3, 47.000
254. Homer, 307, 6-2, 54.375
255. Madison Heights Madison, 307, 4-4, 46.875
256. New Lothrop, 307, 8-0, 88.000
257. Iron Mountain, 303, 8-0, 92.000
258. Bad Axe, 302, 4-4, 37.750
259. Detroit Central, 299, 7-1, 66.375
260. Oscoda, 295, 7-1, 64.750
261. Sandusky, 289, 5-3, 39.000
262. Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, 286, 4-4, 37.232
263. Mancelona, 282, 4-4, 31.375
264. Centreville, 281, 6-2, 52.625
265. Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker, 279, 6-2, 54.250
266. Harbor Springs, 279, 6-2, 55.458
267. Lawton, 275, 8-0, 68.000
268. Evart, 271, 4-4, 31.375
269. Brown City, 270, 4-4, 31.500
270. Cass City, 269, 7-1, 66.750
271. Cassopolis, 268, 8-0, 72.000
272. Concord, 259, 4-4, 35.250
273. Carson City-Crystal, 256, 4-4, 39.500
274. Sand Creek, 256, 6-2, 60.375
275. Unionville-Sebewaing, 250, 5-3, 49.375
276. Beal City, 249, 7-1, 63.500
277. Royal Oak Shrine Catholic, 249, 6-2, 66.232
278. Blanchard Montabella, 247, 4-4, 31.875
279. Addison, 238, 7-1, 66.375
280. Ottawa Lake Whiteford, 235, 5-3, 45.375
281. West Iron County, 235, 6-2, 50.375
282. Reading, 232, 7-1, 68.875
283. Mount Clemens, 225, 4-4, 33.875
284. Flint Beecher *, 224, 5-2, 51.893
285. Bark River-Harris, 223, 5-3, 39.000
286. Ishpeming, 217, 6-2, 51.250
287. White Pigeon, 213, 7-1, 60.875
288. Johannesburg-Lewiston, 212, 8-0, 77.000
289. Harbor Beach, 207, 8-0, 76.000
290. St. Ignace, 205, 4-4, 33.875
291. Adrian Lenawee Christian, 199, 7-1, 59.181
292. Ubly, 198, 7-1, 61.875
293. Breckenridge, 197, 7-1, 65.875
294. Merrill, 197, 6-2, 52.125
295. Detroit Public Safety Academy, 191, 5-3, 49.125
296. Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary, 189, 5-3, 42.375
297. Britton Deerfield, 188, 4-4, 43.125
298. Saginaw Nouvel, 188, 4-4, 37.125
299. Mendon, 184, 6-2, 47.625
300. Fowler, 180, 7-1, 60.875
301. Pittsford, 176, 4-4, 30.875
302. Auburn Hills Oakland Christian, 175, 6-2, 54.482
303. Detroit Southeastern, 158, 4-4, 39.500
304. Lake Linden-Hubbell, 131, 5-3, 42.625
305. Clarkston Everest Collegiate *, 121, 7-0, 72.429

8-Player Playoff Listing

1. Colon, 160, 8-0, 66.429
2. Deckerville, 195, 8-0, 64.429
3. Powers North Central, 107, 8-0, 64.000
4. Martin, 187, 8-0, 60.571
5. Pickford, 138, 7-1, 57.875
6. Portland St. Patrick, 99, 8-0, 57.571
7. Climax-Scotts, 145, 7-1, 56.875
8. Suttons Bay, 205, 8-0, 56.333
9. Mio, 168, 7-1, 55.393
10. Morrice, 182, 7-1, 54.625
11. Hillman, 124, 7-1, 53.750
12. Pellston, 173, 7-1, 49.893
13. Crystal Falls Forest Park, 121, 6-2, 47.625
14. Mesick, 193, 7-1, 47.083
15. Engadine, 108, 7-1, 45.750
16. Mayville, 193, 6-2, 44.625
17. Kingston, 197, 6-2, 43.625
18. New Haven Merritt Academy, 174, 7-1, 42.500
19. Bellevue, 171, 5-3, 39.500
20. Cedarville, 154, 5-3, 36.875
21. Peck, 119, 5-3, 36.750
22. Posen, 71, 5-3, 36.393
23. Onekama, 142, 5-3, 36.054
24. Camden-Frontier, 175, 5-3, 35.125
25. Brethren, 141, 5-3, 33.625
26. Kinde North Huron, 126, 5-3, 33.554
27. Marion, 133, 5-3, 33.321
28. Brimley, 166, 5-3, 32.750
29. Burr Oak, 70, 5-3, 32.125
30. Hale, 113, 5-3, 31.143
31. Genesee, 179, 4-4, 30.875
32. Newberry, 186, 5-3, 29.750
33. Wyoming Tri-unity Christian, 100, 4-4, 27.893
34. International Academy of Flint, 185, 4-4, 27.804
35. Webberville, 182, 4-4, 27.661
36. Onaway, 182, 4-4, 26.643
37. Rapid River, 131, 3-5, 26.125
38. Gaylord St. Mary, 162, 3-5, 25.333
39. Bay City All Saints, 136, 4-4, 25.161
40. Vestaburg *, 186, 4-3, 25.036
41. Manistee Catholic Central, 177, 4-4, 24.625
42. Ashley, 90, 3-5, 23.554
43. Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart *, 113, 3-4, 22.714
44. Carney-Nadeau, 132, 3-5, 21.208
45. Tekonsha, 159, 3-5, 20.750
46. Battle Creek St. Philip, 179, 3-5, 20.643
47. Lawrence, 180, 3-5, 20.625
48. Central Lake, 169, 3-5, 20.333
49. Rudyard, 164, 3-5, 20.125
50. Akron-Fairgrove, 90, 3-5, 17.750
51. Litchfield, 179, 3-5, 17.125
52. Au Gres-Sims, 129, 2-6, 16.625
53. Eben Junction Superior Central, 177, 2-6, 16.375
54. Bellaire, 122, 2-6, 15.000
55. Atlanta, 74, 2-6, 13.476
56. Burton Madison Academy, 164, 2-6, 13.036
57. Fife Lake Forest Area *, 175, 1-5, 12.583
58. Felch North Dickinson, 86, 2-6, 12.125
59. Baldwin, 106, 2-6, 11.875
60. Owendale-Gagetown, 49, 2-6, 11.000
61. Waldron, 77, 2-6, 11.000
62. Carsonville-Port Sanilac, 92, 1-7, 9.875
63. North Adams-Jerome, 145, 1-7, 9.804
64. St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran, 103, 1-7, 8.875
65. New Buffalo *, 178, 1-6, 8.482
66. St. Helen Charlton Heston Academy *, 181, 1-6, 7.571
67. Ontonagon, 165, 1-7, 7.250
68. Big Rapids Crossroads Academy, 188, 1-7, 7.125
69. Bear Lake, 98, 0-8, 3.250
70. Caseville, 79, 0-8, 3.125
71. Stephenson *, 175, 0-6, 1.875

Nightingale Embarking on 1st Season as College Football Head Coach

By Scott Hassinger
Special for MHSAA.com

July 10, 2024

CJ Nightingale's family values, small-town upbringing and Christian faith steered the Mendon native into a career coaching college football.

Made In Michigan and Michigan Army National Guard logosNightingale, a 2010 Mendon High School graduate, is busily preparing for his first season as Belhaven University's eighth football coach. He was officially named the Blazers' head coach seven months ago, on Jan. 1.

Belhaven, a Division III school located in Jackson, Mississippi, competes in the USA South Athletic Conference.

Nightingale credits his love of coaching to his father Chris Nightingale and grandfather Charles Nightingale.

"It all started with my dad and grandfather. At one time they were both involved in coaching, and their general love for sports wore off on me," CJ Nightingale said.

Once CJ reached high school, his interest in athletics only intensified thanks to several people who made a big impact on him.

"I had the most wonderful experience attending school and participating in Mendon athletics,” Nightingale said. “We didn't always have the better athletes, but we were successful because of all the time and commitment put in by our coaches, teachers, administration along with parental and community support. Success is the result of many people who focus on the same cause."

Nightingale lettered in football, basketball and baseball at Mendon, earning four varsity letters in all three sports. He was named the St. Joseph Valley League's MVP in all three sports his senior year, and Mendon earned league titles in all three during Nightingale's senior year as well.

As a starting quarterback and defensive back his sophomore year, Nightingale led Mendon to the 2007 Division 7 football championship with the Hornets' 20-0 win over Traverse City St. Francis. Nightingale still holds the state record for career interceptions with 27.

Mendon had finished the 2006 season 3-6. A losing season remains rare in Mendon, and Nightingale stated it fueled the Hornets' title run the following season.

"I think losing is more difficult in football than in any other sport because of how much work goes into preparing for a season,” Nightingale recalled. “We were a very young team in 2006 and got punched in the mouth. It wasn't the best feeling, but it was a real learning experience and served as a big driving force that next season.

"All the hard times we endured the previous year served as a byproduct for our success in 2007. That team was unselfish, and not one player on the team cared who got the stats or accolades."

At Mendon, Nightingale played for legendary coach John Schwartz in football, David Swanwick in basketball and Glen Samson in baseball.

Lessons from Schwartz – a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association's Hall of Fame – and Samson have especially stuck with Nightingale into adult life and his own coaching career.

"Coach Schwartz had a way of getting everyone on the same page not just on the field, but he taught you how to be the best version of yourself off the field in every-day life. Coach Samson knew how to get his players in the right positions on the diamond to make us successful," Nightingale said.

"The environment at Mendon solidified my desire to become a coach and teacher. The best leaders are also the best teachers, and when you are surrounded by people like that it makes a big difference."

Nightingale attended Wheaton College in Illinois, where he lettered in football four years as a defensive back and return specialist. During Nightingale's career, the Thunder posted a combined record of 34-8 and qualified for the NCAA Division III playoffs when he was a freshman.

After graduating college, Nightingale taught history and spent two years as the varsity football coach at Richmond High School in Indiana. In 2016 he secured his first collegiate coaching job at Greenville University (Ill.) as a defensive backs coach, where he spent one season. He then served as special teams coordinator and linebackers coach at Indiana Wesleyan University beginning in 2017 before returning to his alma mater Wheaton in 2019 as the Thunder's defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach.

Nightingale makes an open-field tackle against the Gladiators in the 2007 Division 7 Final. Nightingale coached 24 all-conference players, 10 all-region performers and seven All-Americans over his four seasons at Wheaton, and the Thunder made the Division III playoffs all four years.

The head football coaching position at Belhaven became available in December 2023 when previous coach Blaine McCorkle moved on to Division 1 Northwestern State (La.). Nightingale applied and went through a three-week interview process before being selected as the program’s next head coach.

"I truly feel like God has called my wife Shanel and I and our family here for a reason. We are going to pour into Belhaven as deeply as we can and see what life brings us,” CJ Nightingale said. “As a college football coach, you have the unique chance to pour into your players spiritually, academically, athletically and socially. That's what is really special about this profession."

Belhaven's program has enjoyed a lot of success, especially the past three seasons with a combined 24-7 record, including a 9-2 finish last fall.

"I am very fortunate to be taking over a strong program here at Belhaven. You don't sustain success, but rather you must be able to build on it," Nightingale said. "We are excited about this season after a great spring. This group of coaches and players got a lot done these past six months. We have had a lot of guys here on campus all summer working to get better. There are lot of goals in front of us that haven't been achieved yet. Two of those goals are to go undefeated in conference play and host a playoff game.”

CJ and Shanel have three children, including 5-year old daughter Charlotte, 3-year old son Trey and 14-month old daughter Coco. They are expecting a fourth child in mid-September.

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PHOTOS (Top) At left, Mendon’s CJ Nightingale (2) celebrates during his team’s 2007 championship win over Traverse City St. Francis at Ford Field; at right Nightingale is pictured with his wife Shanel and children Charlotte, Trey and Coco. (Middle) Nightingale makes an open-field tackle against the Gladiators in the 2007 Division 7 Final. (Family photo courtesy of CJ Nightingale.)