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  The ‘Image’ Of Winning A Football Title  
  by John A. Darnell Jr., associate editor    December 22, 2011 Edition  
     All Mooney team members voted
      to accept suspensions, in solidarity with
      those players who broke the rules....
      Anything out of line with that picture?
      Cardinal Mooney has won eight state titles---the memories seem endless.
      Who can forget the 1973 team with Ted Bell at tailback playing against Warren Western Reserve and winning is first state crown, 14-3, before 35,000 fans at the Akron Rubber Bowl?
      Kyle McCarthy, perhaps the best-ever in the Cardinals storied grid history, ran a punt back for a TD, passed for a TD and ran a pass interception back for a TD in Mooney’s 28-6 victory over Versailles. Many remember his best play of the game came on a Versailles pass completion to an uncontested receiver at midfield. The nearest defender was 25 yards away. McCarthy caught the receiver with a punishing tackle at the 20 yard line, preventing an almost certain score and spurring his team to victory.
      Cardinal Mooney’s last two grid championships carry a somewhat different legacy, with some baggage, attached to the team, its championship, and its tradition.
      The day after Mooney won its seventh state grid crown, 35-7, over Columbus DeSales in 2009, two Mooney students were found shot to death at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boardman, the victims of an apparent double-suicide where one of the dead students was reported to have told a fellow student he would be making ‘big news’ after the victory.
      That state title also came on the heels of a season pocked when several Mooney gridders were involved in a beer-keg party and fight at a Canfield home of the parents of one of the football team members. The party and fight drew a response from several local police agencies during the ‘regular’ season.
      Mooney’s latest grid title, just a couple of weeks ago, 21-14, over Springfield Shawnee, ended when players were given cigars and alcohol (some say fake alcohol) during post-game celebrations; and some players were captured with their stogies on television during a celebration at the school courtyard by the ‘Victory Bell.’
      The cigar-smoking and reports of alcohol consumption among players forced a cancellation last week of an assembly at Cardinal Mooney (Thursday) to honor the state championship team; and the Youngstown Diocese announced it was investigating the allegations while also noting the claims were being investigated by the Youngstown Police Department.
      A day later, one-day student suspensions were announced for players who admitted smoking the stogies and then all Mooney team members voted to all accept suspensions, in solidarity with those players who broke the rules.
      In other words, a show of support for those who broke the rules, sanctioned by Diocesan and Mooney school officials?
      Anything out of line with that picture?
      By contrast, Youngstown State won its fourth NCAA grid national title, 10-9, in 1997 over McNeese State.
      Under Jim Tressel, the Penguins entered their lockeroom after the victory and sang the school’s alma mater. A prayer was followed by an extended moment of silence that provided Penguin student-athletes time to reflect on their accomplishments. Then the podium was given to a team captain who spoke of the team’s love for one another. With that, the Penguins put their equipment away and traveled home where they then began to enjoy the fruits of the victory.
      As of last Thursday, when the student body and supporters of Cardinal Mooney were supposed to be honoring their state champs, the Youngstown Diocese issued the following notice, perhaps a testament to Mooney’s most recent state grid crown:
      “The Diocese of Youngstown and Cardinal Mooney High School have learned that there have been reports that alcoholic beverages were brought into the school’s victory celebration after winning the Division III State Football Championship.
      “Dr. Nicholas Wolsonovich, Acting Superintendent of Schools, stated that the Diocese conducted a preliminary internal investigation to determine if there was any grounds or substance to these reports. Having conducted its internal investigation, the Diocese has alerted the Youngstown City Police as to this incident and will cooperate with the police in their investigation, sharing all information which has been learned as a result of its internal investigation. After the police have conducted their investigation, Dr. Wolsonovich said, the Diocese will review the facts as presented in the police report and hold any and all individuals accountable who are responsible and take appropriate action.”
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