YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It was just one year ago that a new era of football began at Cardinal Mooney, with Carl Pelini taking over as head coach.
This fall, the winds of change will once again blow. The Cardinals will play their home games on the brand new turf at Mineral Ridge.
“Well, we just feel to get into a high school venue, make it an event,” said head coach Carl Pelini. “Make it more of a high school atmosphere, get the crowd closer to the field. We want to give more of a sold-out feel to the stadium. I’m excited about it.”
“I think at Mineral Ridge, with a smaller stadium, same crowd, it’s gonna be a different atmosphere, exciting. It’s gonna be fun to play there,” said senior lineman Jack Desmond.
Mooney is currently in the midst of a three-way competition at quarterback, with Alec Delsignore, Ashton O’Brien and Cam Sweeney vying for the position.
The Cardinals will feature a dynamic backfield that includes speedy senior tailback Zy’ere Rogers. He rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns last fall.
Rogers is joined by bruising back DeVontae Miller, who reached the endzone five times one year ago.
Paving the way for the Cardinals on the ground is a massive offensive line, which Coach Pelini says is the team’s strength. It’s a group that is anchored by a pair of juniors, Adam Garloch and Tino Merlo.
“Oh the trenches, there’s nothing better than it both offensively and defensively,” Desmond said. “It’s definitely fun being up front. Big guys, you’re right up there close to the action.”
Fellow senior Jack Phillips is equally as excited about this year’s team.
“We’ve got those two big guys on the line. We’ve got a nice, solid backfield. We’ve got three quarterbacks who can all play pretty well and we’ve got our receivers. So, I think we’ll have a nice dual-threat offense,” Phillips said.
Cardinal Mooney will open the 2021 season on the road at Boardman on Friday, August 20.
“My message to my guys is Mooney has always won by playing harder, by being more physical and by being more disciplined,” Pelini said. “We may not have the numbers of some of our bigger opponents, but if we take the field with that mentality, we can compete with anybody.”