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Changing Of The Gridiron Guard: Cessante, Rogers Get HC Nods At CC, Belleville

By: SCOTT BURNSTEIN, January 22, 2023, 9:59 pm

Two of the MHSAA’s powerhouse programs, traditional blueblood Detroit Catholic Central and two-time defending Division 1 state champion Belleville named new head coaches this week.

CC tapped former Shamrocks team captain and defensive coordinator Justin Cessante. Belleville removed the interim tag from DeJuan Rogers’ position after Rogers took over late in 2022 season from Jermain Crowell, who was suspended by the MHSAA and then banned for two seasons for undue influence, prompting his firing.

Cessante captained Catholic Central’s 1997 and 1998 repeat state championship squads from the defensive backfield for the legendary Tom Mach before going on to win a Division II National Title at Grand Valley State in 2002, playing under current LSU coach Brian Kelly. He was an assistant in the historic program for 15 years prior to leaving following the 2017 campaign to take over as Director of Strategic Partnerships and National Football Operations for Legacy Sports out of Brighton. Cessante grabs the reins from the retiring Dan Anderson.

“This is a dream come true, this was my destiny,” said Cessante of his chance to helm the Shamrocks on the gridiron. “I won’t be leaving Legacy, just off boarding some of my responsibilities and job titles. I played for Coach Mach, he taught me so much and is like a father to me. He set the standard for CC football. I’ll just be honoring him and Coach Anderson by upholding it.”

Rogers prepped at Detroit Cass Tech when Crowell was an assistant with the Technicians in the early 2010s and the program won back-to-back Division 1 state crowns (2011, 2012) with him directing traffic at a safety spot. He joined Crowell’s staff at Belleville four years ago. Rogers excelled in the secondary at the college level for the University of Toledo Rockets.

“We are focused on next season and nothing else,” Rogers said. “We’re on the verge of turning this thing into a dynasty, but the job’s not done yet.”

Led by junior All-American candidate quarterback Bryce Underwood, Belleville will be gunning for only the second “three-peat” in MHSAA Division 1 history. Mach’s 2001-2003 CC Shamrocks are the only teams to win three consecutive Division 1 state titles.