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  Mooney Cardinals Look To Bounce Back From Disappointing 4-6 Mark  
  Play First Five Games On The Road and End With Five At Home:   August 22, 2019 Edition  
     By Greg Gulas
      Boardman News Sports Staff
      Head coach P.J. Fecko enters his 20th season as mentor of the Cardinal Mooney Cardinals, cautiously optimistic that they can improve on their un-Mooney-like 4-6 finish of a season ago.
      With four state titles (2004, 2006, 2009 and 2011) and three runner-up (2005, 2007 and 2013) finishes under his watch, the Cardinals will need to start strong as they open with five road contests before ending the year with five home games at YSU’s Stambaugh Stadium.
      The schedule remains one of the most difficult of any area team, but Fecko believes that the early test, which includes four-time defending state champion Akron Archbishop Hoban (September 6), and first-time opponent Pittsburgh Carrick High School (September 14), will help his team as they move forward.
      “It’s basically the same cast of characters with one newcomer,” Fecko said. “The bar is high, that’s for sure as there are play-off teams and a four-time state champion in Akron Archbishop Hoban that we must face. The guys understand the challenge ahead and are ready to get going.”
      The Cardinals will open with the Chaney Cowboys at Rayen Stadium and most eyes will be on the lidlifter when Fecko goes up against former assistant Chris Amill, the Cowboys’ new head coach who spent 16 years on the Cardinals’ staff and is entrusted with bringing the team back to varsity status for the first time since the 2010 season when the program was disbanded.
      “Chris and I played together, coached together and have been together a lot of years,” Fecko added. “We’ve had a lot of great times, but first you’ve got to worry about yourself, your game preparation and what we control. You can’t get caught up because it is what it is. You just prepare and hope to get better each week.
      “We end the season with five home games and that’s a nice feeling. Hopefully you are in a rhythm by then. The weather gets nastier about that time and we have a great facility in YSU’s Stambaugh Stadium.
      “We’ve had a great pre-season camp but need to replace a lot of players so there are no shoo-ins at any position. It’s been an enjoyable camp and the players have been eager to compete, so it has been easy to go out on the field each day.”
      The Cardinals return 13 letterwinners, four of whom were starters on the offensive side of the ball.
      Two juniors, Pat Guerrieri and A.J. Pecchia are locked in a battle for the starting signal callers’ job, each very capable and comfortable in Fecko’s multiple system.
      Four players are fighting for the two running back slots, including seniors Dom Byrd and Michael Santisi, and sophomores Zyere Rodgers and Christian Colosimo.
      Junior Michael Pastella, seniors Walt Sweeney, Cody Clegg, Joe Kordupel and Michael Scavina are the wide receiver candidates with Guerrieri and Pecchia also in the mix when one isn’t under center.
      Seniors Dante D’Alesio and Jack McGlone, and junior Dan Lyons are the tight ends.
      Senior Colin Rushen is the center, the two guards are juniors Will Skretta and Carl Farina with Kerri Hewlett (junior), Louie Gentile (senior) the two tackles, backed up by incoming freshman Adam Garloch.
      The Cardinals are a 4-3 defensive unit and return three starters with Skretta and Farina the interior front, and Lyons and D’Alesio the ends.
      McGlone and Colosimo are the middle linebackers, Santisi the sam linebacker and Pastella the will linebacker.
      Pecchia, Scavina, Rodgers, junior Chris Marshall and Kordupel are the five cornerback hopefuls looking to fill two slots while all will see action as the season unfolds.
      Four candidates looking to fill two safety slots include senior Andrew Armile, Guerrieri, Clegg and Sweeney.
      Like most head coaches, Fecko appreciates his special teams’ play and realizes they can be difference-makers.
      Scavina is the punter, junior Brian Philibin will handle both the kick-off and placekicking duties with D’Alesio serving as both the long and short snapper.
      Pecchia and Santisi are the punt returners with Rodgers joining Santisi for kick-return duties.
      After their opener with Chaney on August 29, the Cardinals will travel to Akron Archbishop Hoban (September 6), Pittsburgh Carrick (September 14), Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (September 20) and Boardman (September 27) before finishing at home against East (October 4), Louisville (October 11), Warren Harding (October 19), Ursuline (October 25) and Austintown Fitch (November 1).
      Cardinal Mooney Cardinals
      2019 Football Schedule
      Thurs., Aug. 29: Chaney.................Rayen
      Fri,., Sept. 6: Akron Hoban.............away
      Sat., Sept. 14: Pittsburgh Carrick......away
      Fri., Sept. 20: Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary..away
      Fri., Sept. 27: Boardman................away
      Fri., Oct. 4: Youngstown East...........YSU
      Fri., Oct. 11: Louisville...............YSU
      Sat., Oct. 19: Warren Harding...........YSU
      Fri., Oct. 25: Ursuline.................YSU
      Fri., Nov. 1: Austintown Fitch..........YSU
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