Parkway poses challenge for rebuilding Moon
Moon coach Mark Washington knows it can be challenging to compete in a conference as tough as the Parkway while trying to rebuild a once-proud program into a yearly contender.
“This Parkway (Conference) is a grind,” Washington said. “We're trying to play the game the right way and let everything fall where it may.”
The Tigers are looking to climb out of the conference cellar and post their first winning record since 2006 with more new faces than anticipated.
Top passer Caleb Jakiel graduated, and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Brandon LeDonne took the head coaching position at nearby Northgate, leaving Washington to fill voids on and off the field.
Former Beaver Falls coach and Geneva College wide receivers coach Keith “Kiki” Humphries was hired as the new offensive coordinator and receivers coach.
“We miss Brandon,” Washington said. “But Kiki has been around football all his life.”
Humphries brings with him experience that will help a young, struggling program.
“These guys are raw, young guys,” Washington said. “They know no other way but to work hard.”
Sophomore Aleksei Yaramus will guide the offense behind a line that returns three starters, including Aleksei's twin brother, Niko, who has received interest from some ACC schools, at left tackle. Washington played with Aleksei and Niko's father at Aliquippa and knows the type of work ethic the Yaramus family brings to the field.
“They come from a good family, hardworking family,” Washington said. “They're hard-working kids.”
All-conference performer Charlie Brenner also returns to help anchor the line at center.
Running back Anthony Colaianni collected 902 yards as sophomore and will be the focal point of an offense that struggled to throw the ball last season.
Leading the way for Colaianni at fullback will be two-way senior starter Ian Kelly. Washington likes Kelly's fiery attitude and will look to him to guide a defense that gave up 3,110 total yards last year.
“He's the glue to our defense,” Washington said. “He's the motor. He takes no prisoners.”
The Yaramus brothers also will contribute defensively with Niko at tackle and Aleksei in the secondary.