Long-time rivals primed for 57th renewal of series
It won’t be hard to tell Mooney and Ursuline apart by their school colors, as usual, when they meet tonight for the 57th time, but, for the first time in a while, their records are a contrast, too.
Still, with Cardinal Mooney 5-2 and Ursuline 2-6, the intensity needn’t suffer — and won’t.
The Cardinals want to maintain their No. 2 ranking in Div. III, Region 11, while the Irish want to make a “We aren’t dead” statement as they try to finish a difficult season with back-to-back wins.
Tonight’s game at Stambaugh Stadium is 7:30 p.m. Mooney leads the series 37-16-3.
“I think they’ve fallen short in some games,” Mooney coach P.J. Fecko said of Ursuline. “They’ve been playing well all year and they’ve played well enough to win some of those games, but had some unfortunate breaks here and there.
“They’re a much better team than their record shows. I think they’re a team that has some very capable people and they’re a dangerous team. They’ve shown that they can move the ball up and down the field and they’ve shown that they can play really good defense in some low-scoring games that didn’t go their way.
“It’s going to be quite a task. They are definitely a team that is capable of making big plays and scoring fast and they usually play pretty good on defense.”
Dan Reardon’s team has lost to the No. 1 (Mentor) and No. 6 (Lakewood St. Edward) teams in Div. I, Region 1, and the No. 2 (Mentor Lake Catholic) and No. 1 (Steubenville) teams in Div. III, Region 9 and Div. III, Region 11, respectively.
“They’re very good,” the Ursuline coach said of Mooney. “They’re big up front, run the ball well, have good quarterback play and play good team defense. It seems like I say that about them every year, but they’re a talented team.”
Chris Durkin is Ursuline’s QB, while Trevor Smith, Tramain Thigpen, Jesse Curry, Anthony Davis and Craig Ulicny share backfield time.
Kevin Cylar is Ursuline’s leading receiver, with Tannor Berry also on the receiving end of Durkin’s passes.
Defensively, LB Curry is the leading tackler, Anthony Davis is second-leading tackler at safety, and the Irish’ top DL is sophomore Shahaun Williams.
To date, the teams have three common opponents: Lakewood St. Edward, Mentor Lake Catholic and Red Lion Academy.
Mooney lost to St. Ed and MLC and beat Red Lion, while the Irish lost to all three.
Mooney had a Week 6 bye, then beat Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, 41-21 last Friday. Ursuline play SVSM in Week 10.
Fecko isn’t putting much stock the momentum of a three-game winning streak for Mooney, which has a playoff spot sewn up.
“It’s a week-by-week thing with us. We kind of take each week and start over and forget about the last week. It’s definitely better coming off wins, no doubt, but, by the same token, it’s a new week, new challenges and it’s about getting better each week.”
In the Mooney backfield, QB P.J. Quinn will be joined by RBs Griffin, Justus Ellis-Moore and Marcus McWilson on a rotation basis.
Ryan Farragher and Quincy Jones are the top receivers, while defensive leadership starts with Austin Trgovcich, Carmen Lanzo, A.J. Thomas and Joe Stana up front, Courtney Love at LB and Joe DeNiro, McWilson and Farragher in the secondary.