Throughout the 2019 high school football regular-season in Illinois, the Chicago Bears will honor an IHSA football player and coach each week as a part of its “Bears High School All-Star” and “Bears Coach of the Week” programs, respectively. The Chicago Bears will make a $1,500 total contribution to support the winning high schools and a local youth football program of the winner's choosing. Throughout the program’s 20+ year existence, the Bears have donated over $290,000 to Illinois high schools in support of their football programs. All 2019 honorees will be invited to Soldier Field, where they will be recognized on December 22 when the Bears host the Chiefs.
All press releases below are courtesy of the Chicago Bears:
PLAYER: Running back Trent Howland of Joliet West High School was named the Chicago Bears “High School All-Star” in Week 9. Howland, a junior, tallied 301 yards and five touchdowns in Joliet’s 43-7 win at Plainfield Central (1-8) on Oct. 25, helping to clinch the team’s first Southwest Prairie Conference championship in 50 years.
COACH: Rob Howard of Beardstown High School has been named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 9. Howard led the Tigers to a 42-28 victory vs. Carrollton (7-2) last week to finish the regular season with a perfect 9-0 record, marking their first undefeated season since 1936. He’s been the head coach since 2016 and is also a physical education teacher.
PLAYER: Mar’Kiese Irving of Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, Ill., was named the Chicago Bears “High School All-Star" for Week 8. Irving tallied 302 yards, ran for two touchdowns, threw a touchdown pass and collected an interception last week in Hillcrest’s 32-36 win at Lemont (6-2), which previously had allowed only 53 points this season. Irving, a junior, has already received numerous scholarship offers.
COACH: Bob McMillen of St. Francis High School in Wheaton has been named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 8. McMillen helped lead the Spartans to a 20-19 victory last week vs. IC Catholic Prep (7-1), snapping the Knights’ 33-game win streak. McMillen, who was hired in 2017, played in the Arena Football League for 13 seasons, including five with the Chicago Rush, and won three Arena Bowl titles during his career; he also coached for the Rush and LA Kiss from 2011-15. He has helped the Spartans improve from 1-8 seasons in both 2016 and 2017 to an 8-3 record in 2018 and 7-1 record this season.
PLAYER: Running back Ian Ridge of Elk Grove High School was named the Chicago Bears “High School All-Star” in Week 7. Ridge, a junior, registered a school-record 422 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in the Grenadiers (2-5) 59-33 win at Wheeling (0-7) last Friday. His 422 rushing yards are tied for 18th in IHSA history.
COACH: Adam Nissen of St. Laurence High School in Burbank has been named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 7. Nissen and the Vikings (4-3) tallied a 21-10 win at Brother Rice (4-3) on Oct. 11 to keep their postseason hopes alive; Brother Rice was ranked No. 10 in the Illinois Class 7A AP Rankings at the time. The victory marked St. Laurence’s first win vs. Brother Rice since 1993. Nissen was named head coach in April 2019 and also works as a social studies teacher at the school.
PLAYER: Quarterback Jordan Hansen of John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights was named the Chicago Bears “High School All-Star” for Week 6. Hansen, a senior, helped the Huskies (6-0) remain undefeated with a 45-28 victory vs. Prospect (5-1) last Friday, serving the Knights their first loss of the season. He tallied 237 rushing yards and five touchdowns; Hansen has accounted for 35 touchdowns this season. Hersey is ranked No. 5 in the Illinois Class 7A AP Rankings.
COACH: David Inserra of Maine South High School in Park Ridge has been named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 6. Inserra and the Hawks (4-2) posted a 41-0 shutout vs. Evanston (2-4) on Oct. 4, marking Inserra’s 200th win. Quarterback Luke Leongas tallied 204 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. Inserra, who is also a teacher at Maine South, is in his 19th season as head coach and has posted a 200-32 record and won four state championships.
PLAYER: Quarterback Tommy Rittenhouse of St. Francis High School in Wheaton was named the Chicago Bears “High School All-Star” for Week 5. Rittenhouse, a junior, threw the game-winning touchdown with seconds remaining in the contest to pull ahead 46-43 at Bishop McNamara (2-3). Rittenhouse threw for five touchdowns and 363 yards in the victory. He has posted 1,245 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. The Spartans are now 4-1 and ranked No. 10 in the Illinois Class 4A AP Rankings.
COACH: Brian Melvin of Burlington Central High School has been named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 5. Melvin and the Rockets (2-3) completed a successful 2-point conversion with just over 1 minute remaining in the game vs. Jacobs (3-2) on Sept. 27 to clinch a 31-30 victory; sophomore Gavin Sarvis scored the game-winning touchdown and 2-point conversion. Melvin has been head coach of the Rockets since May 2016 and also works as a school counselor.
: Deontay Bell of Montini Catholic High School was named the Chicago Bears “High School All-Star” for Week 4. Bell, a senior, tallied more than 500 yards in the Broncos 45-35 win vs. St. Rita (1-3) on Sept. 20; he ran for 200-plus yards, including a 76-yard touchdown, and passed for five touchdowns to help Montini overcome a 35-17 deficit in the third quarter. The Broncos are now 3-1 and ranked No. 2 in the Illinois Class 5A AP Rankings.
: Jordan Lynch of Mount Carmel High School in Chicago has been named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 4. Lynch and the Caravan posted a 17-14 victory vs. Loyola Academy (2-2) on Sept. 20 to remain undefeated this season. Junior Julian Patino kicked a 37-yard field goal with seconds remaining to win the game. Kenenna Odeluga and Jeremy Moriarty scored touchdowns for Mt. Carmel. They are now ranked No. 1 in the Illinois Class 7A AP Rankings. Lynch, a former Heisman Trophy finalist, has been head coach of the Caravan since December 2017.
: Quarterback Stuart Ross of Springfield Southeast High School in Springfield was named the Chicago Bears “High School All-Star" for Week 3. Ross went 16-for-16 and registered seven passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in the Spartans’ (1-2) 78-37 win vs. Decatur Eisenhower on Sept. 13. The senior finished last season as the Central State Eight Football regular-season passing leader with 26 touchdowns and 2,675 yards.
: Ryan Wilkens of Glenbard North High School has been named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 3. Wilkens and the Panthers (1-2) posted a 21-7 victory vs. St. Charles East on Sept. 13, marking their first win since Oct. 20, 2017, at Neuqua Valley during the postseason. Glenbard North’s Cordell Smiley tallied two touchdowns and 156 yards, while Jordan McQuarter added one touchdown and 77 yards.
: Running back Daniel Jezik of Coal City High School was named the Chicago Bears “High School All-Star” for Week 2. Jezik recorded 295 rushing yards, two touchdowns, nine tackles and four PATs in the Coalers’ 34-20 win vs. Bishop McNamara (1-1) on Sept. 6. He opened the season with three touchdowns and 243 rushing yards in Coal City’s 48-33 kickoff game victory. Jezik, a senior, was also named the Class 2A wrestling champion for his weight class in February.
: Trevor Higgins of Pana High School in Pana, Ill., has been named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 2. Higgins, who was named head coach of the Panthers in 2016, has helped lead his team to a 2-0 record to open the season. Pana registered a 44-7 victory in their opening game at Staunton/Mt. Olive (1-1) on Aug. 30 and followed that with a 38-14 win at Roxana (0-2) on Sept. 6. Senior Lane Perry has registered a team-high four touchdowns.
: Jalen Moore of Glenbard West was named the Chicago Bears “High School All-Star” for Week 1. Moore and the Hilltoppers registered a 45-28 victory at Maine South to kick off the year. The junior posted 229 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the win.
: Brian Griffin of Hinsdale Central has been named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 1. Griffin, a Hinsdale Central alumnus, was named head coach in April 2019. He led the Red Devils to a 14-6 victory at Naperville Central in their first game of the season. Quarterback Michael Brescia ran for a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass to Braden Contreras for the win. Hinsdale Central will face off against Cicero Morton (0-1) tonight at 7:30 p.m.