YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Cardinal Mooney was a perfect 4-0 on the road during the regular season last year. The Cardinals turned that winning record into a playoff berth. This year, the Cards will have to be just as good with their first five games, all of which are away from home.
Three of those games will be against playoff teams from last year — Hoban, DeSales and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.
“It’s not the easiest thing to do, to travel and keep everybody’s focus and obviously play on the road, playing somebody else’s comfort zone and those kinda things,” said Head Coach P.J. Fecko.
Fellow seniors Antonio Page and Vinny Gentile are embracing the early challenge.
“A tough schedule is always the best schedule. It shows who the best players are, it makes you better, it’s more competition, better athletes. It shows who’s the best,” Page said.
“You can’t feel sorry for yourself … You can’t feel the pity of having a bus ride. Oh, we gotta do this, we gotta do that. We’re not playing at home, it’s a football game,” Gentile added.
Helping the Cards’ cause is an offensive line that returns nearly intact, anchored by 6-foot-2, 240-pound Gentile.
“You usually find big laboring guys, and we don’t have that. We have guys that can move and move and push you around still,” Gentile said.
“Their knowledge base and their experience, and knowing what it is to be in the trenches, play after play, is really gonna pay off,” Fecko added.
Page returns this year as the Cards’ starting quarterback for the second straight year in a row. He piled up over 1,000 total yards with 14 touchdowns during the regular season.
“I’m gonna know the offense pretty well and be able to put guys in positions that they need to be, tell them what they need to do. I feel like we’ll be able to run the offense pretty well,” he said.
The Cardinals kick off the regular season Aug. 25 at Cleveland Heights.
“It’s been way too many years for us here at Mooney without a state championship. I know our class is not trying to leave without a ring on our finger. So, that’s what we’ll continue working for no matter what,” Gentile said.