YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It has been a tough stretch for the Cardinal Mooney football program of late.

This Fall, the Cardinals are looking to avoid a fifth consecutive losing season after winning just one game a year ago.

“Very disappointing,” admitted Senior Lineman Adam Garloch. “So this year, we’re bringing some juice and you know, we’re pretty motivated to get more wins on board.”

“The task started in November and we had a great off-season in terms of lifting,” added third-year head coach Carl Pelini. “We had to we had to get bigger, we had to get stronger, we had to get more physical.”

That’s especially the case up front. Enter 6-foot-3 senior lineman Adam Garloch. He’ll anchor things on the offensive line along with fellow senior Tino Merlo who also brings significant size at 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds.

“I feel like, you know, we run the ball pretty well,” Garloch said. “You know, we’re like a great offensive line team, you know, we like to run it down the other team’s throat.”

The Mooney passing attack is also in good hands with junior quarterback Ashton O’Brien leading the way. He threw for 726 yards as a sophomore, completing 55.1% of his passes.

“He got about three inches taller. He put on about 15 pounds.,” Pelini revealed. “So, he’s the same competitor he was, but he’s much taller, he’s much stronger. He’s got some zip on that ball and he can make all the throws.”

Senior Wide Receiver Ty Reali is also returning for the Cardinals, after piling up 195 receiving yards and three touchdowns last Fall.

“It’s amazing,” said Reali. “He’s (O’Brien) always putting the ball where it needs to be. And right when I turn around, it’s right there and I’m ready to make a move right when I get it.”

Pelini has added some additional experienced leadership to the program adding veteran coaches Rick Shepas and Brian Marrow to his coaching staff.

“Having Coach Shep here to take over the offense and just let me worry about defense and special teams, that’s been a very huge help to me. Brian Marrow, who’s been a head coach at East, and he’s just a real great, you know, teacher. He’s really good with the kids,” Pelini said.

It’s mentorship the Cardinals hope will return the winning ways back to the storied program.

“It’s more about the physicality with which we play, the perfection, you know, that the elimination of mistakes and just that expectation that no matter who we step on the field with, we’re going to compete with them for four quarters and they’re going to be in for a dogfight. And that’s we need to get back to those expectations,” added Pelini.

Cardinal Mooney will kick off the 2022 season on Friday, Aug. 19 against Boardman.