Moon's rebuilding gains ground off the field
Moon coach Mark Washington took his Tigers to a Beaver County construction site to work there one day in July.
Where better to build a program?
“We helped build a retaining wall and put up drywall,” said senior quarterback Caleb Jakiel, who labored at the Habitat for Humanity project. “It's good to help the community. And it's good to be together bonding.”
“It was a pretty good workout,” Washington said.
As his second season as head coach approaches, the former Aliquippa assistant has been busy laying a foundation with off-field activities. He sees unity and discipline as the first steps toward resurrecting the struggling program.
“We've been working hard this offseason,” he said. “We've done a lot of building. That kind of stuff is bringing our team together.”
Moon hasn't had a winning record since 2006. In the five seasons since, the Tigers were 6-40 and won just two of 32 Parkway Conference games.
“It comes with the territory when you're rebuilding a program,” Washington said of the losses, “but I don't go into any season saying it's OK to lose games. I don't like to lose.
“We're trying to get the program back to where it needs to be. Once you're doing everything right, when you're walking right and you're talking right and you're running and you're tackling, the wins will come.”
The Tigers return a handful of starters on each side, including their entire backfield.
That includes Jakiel, who threw for 1,100 yards as a junior. He will be a third-year starter.
Leading rushers Anthony Colaianni (746 yards) and Cole Blake (281 yards) also return. Both are juniors.
“We've got a lot of good young talent,” Jakiel said. “Hopefully, that can continue in the upcoming years.”
The top receivers will be junior V.J. Dean and sophomore Kyle Bondi. Sophomore left tackle Niko Yaramus (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) will be the line's only returning starter.