Youth movement: Cardinal Mooney looks to bounce back in 2019

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Cardinal Mooney is looking to rebound after missing out on the postseason for the third time in the last 16 years

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The 2018 season was one to forget at Cardinal Mooney.

The Cardinals finished the campaign with a record of just 3-6, failing to win back-to-back games for the first time since 2012. They also failed to advance to the postseason for just the third time in the last 16 years.

“It was very disappointing,” Senior Lineman Colin Rushen said. “We gave it our all. Like I said, we’re a close-knit group. It was heartbreaking.”

“Everybody looks around and says, ‘Hey, we don’t like the way we exited the season with so let’s figure out the steps that we have to take to correct this in the future,'” said Head Coach P.J. Fecko.

But if history has anything to say about it, the Cardinals are due for a rebound.

In fact, the last three times Mooney suffered through a losing season, the Cards increased their win total by four wins and advanced to week 11 the very next season.

The 2019 Cardinals will be counting on plenty of young players to step up.

“With the lack of experience, the competition is there,” Fecko said. “I think it’s the first time in a long time that things are truly wide open everywhere. We have a lot of spots that guys are competing for and fighting for.”

Senior Michael Santisi is confident a much better season lies ahead for the Cardinals in 2019.

“I feel like we’re gonna do real well this season, especially with the fact that we have the best chemistry. We don’t have any selfish people or anything like that. I think it will be a great season for us,” Santisi said.

Helping the Cardinals’ cause is former Cleveland Browns’ Defensive Lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, who has returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach.

“You got a lot of good kids. They listen. They take coaching. All that good stuff. My biggest thing is size, strength…that doesn’t matter in high school. As long as you got heart and you’re a hard worker, you got mental toughness and you’re tough,” Kitchen said.

Cardinal Mooney will kick off the season on Thursday, August 29 on the road at Chaney.

“I love this group. I love their chemistry. I love their work ethic. I love their motivation and their competitiveness, and I’m really excited to start the season,” Fecko said.

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