By ryan buck
Cardinal Mooney head football coach P.J. Fecko has won four state football titles. He’s sent dozens of young men on to college football programs across the country.
He’s used to being in the middle of a huddle of hungry football players.
On Tuesday morning, he found himself surrounded by hundreds of hungry children.
Fecko took a break from wrapping up Mooney’s 12th annual Camp of Champions and the campers’ pizza party to enjoy the moment.
“It was a great turnout,” Fecko said of the camp organized by Mooney alumnus and Youngstown State assistant coach Ron Stoops. “We’re very fortunate that we have such great alumni and such successful people across the country in the football arena and our guys give their time and come back and participate in this camp.”
Numerous college football coaches and Mooney alumni visited, including Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Mark Stoops (Kentucky) and Mike Stoops (Oklahoma), as well as Bo Pelini (Nebraska) and Carl Pelini (Florida Atlantic).
“It’s really great for these young people to experience and be around all these guys that they see on TV all the time,” Fecko said.
Fecko feels fortunate to take part.
“It’s a unique place,” he said. “These guys have said that they’ve traveled all over and been in high schools all over recruiting and this is a unique place, that they’ve never seen anything like it.
“It’s exciting to see and it’s a tribute to everybody that has been a part of Mooney over the years,” Fecko said. “They’ve built it into the place that it is and it’s so instrumental in everybody’s lives.”
Many of the Cardinals’ returning lettermen were camp counselors for the two days. They are hoping to lead a rebound from last season’s 3-6 campaign, Mooney’s fifth losing season in 55 years.
“We’ve gotten off to a great summer,” Fecko said. “We’ve had a great spring and winter. Our guys are on pace where they need to be and exceeding some of our expectations already.
“We have a lot of newcomers. There will be a lot of new faces, but so far, they’re doing exactly what they need to do and we’re excited about it.”