Keep Eye On Mooney’s Love

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Youngstown Mooney sophomore Courtney Love. (Gary Housteau)

A talented member of the Class of 2013, Courtney Love is the heir apparent at the
quarterback position and, at the same time, he’s set to man one of the
outside linebacker spots on the always rugged Cardinal defense.


If Youngstown Cardinal Mooney hopes to get back to playing in another
state championship contest any time soon — like they have in five of
the past seven seasons — they’ll more than likely need significant
contributions from junior-to-be Courtney Love on both sides of the ball.

A talented member of the Class of 2013, Love is the heir apparent
at the quarterback position and, at the same time, he’s set to man one
of the outside linebacker spots on the always rugged Cardinal defense.

Love has spent much of the off-season not only getting ready for
his junior campaign on the gridiron but also preparing for the upcoming
track season in the spring.

“Oh it’s going great (off-season) with lifting and getting my
schoolwork and everything together,” Love said. “Football-wise I’m
making a lot of progress getting my speed together and my strength. I
grew about an inch or two and gained about 15 pounds so far, so it’s
going pretty good.”

At 6-1 and 215 pounds now, Love is preparing to improve on his
rather modest two-way contributions that he made in his first year
playing on the varsity at Mooney.

“I think I did fine but my injuries held me back a little bit,”
Love said. “My expectations for last year (going into the season) were
to play a lot and help out my team. I was just trying to get on the
field and do the best that I could. I didn’t really get a chance to do
that much but this year I will.”

Not long after he was handed the reins of the offense when senior
quarterback Kevin McGuire went down with an injury early in the season,
Love suffered a partial tear of the MCL around week four of the season
and, like McGuire, he was out of action for a few weeks himself.

“I was out for about two to three weeks and then when I finally
did comeback it still bothered me a little bit so that kept me back a
little,” Love said. “But I got stronger as the year went on.”

Love was a candidate to take over the quarterback position when Alex Zordich
graduated but McGuire earned the start to open the season. Before long,
however, Love found himself under center when McGuire went down.

“I expected to get in when Kevin got hurt and I expected to take
on the leadership qualities that come with the position,” Love said. “I
think I did OK doing it.”

But with McGuire healthy once again when he returned from injury,
Love was able to concentrate on playing exclusively on the defensive
side of the ball when he returned to action.

“After my injury I didn’t want to go back to quarterback because I
wanted to focus on defense,” Love said. “I didn’t want to further my
injury anymore.”

But he’s certainly ready for the dual challenge this season.

“I’ll be playing quarterback and linebacker,” Love said. “I’ll be
going both ways this year.”

Of course, he’ll have to earn the starting quarterback nod once
again.

“Right now there’s going to be a competition between me, a couple
of underclassmen and a junior that will be a senior next year (P.J.
Quinn),” Love said. “So I just have to work hard and fight hard to win
the position.”

On defense, Love is all but certain to nail down one of the
outside linebacker positions for the Cardinals. More than likely it’s
the position that he’ll be performing at on the collegiate level.

“I love both positions but on defense I really like to play
linebacker,” Love said. “I like quarterback, too, because you’re the
leader of the team and you can do whatever you have to do to help your
team win. But I ended up playing a lot of defense toward the end of the
year and it was great.”

Playing some at quarterback last season certainly helped him a
lot.

“I think I grew up a lot because it was kind of overwhelming at
first because I was a bit nervous,” Love said. “I’m very comfortable
with the position this year. I’ve been working just about every day to
improve on things I didn’t have last year.”

Although Mooney’s offense isn’t exactly known for its aerial
prowess, Love is preparing, both physically and mentally, as if it is.

“Physically I throw about 100 passes a day, I try to, and I run
and lift,” Love said. “And I’ve been watching a lot of film on how I was
dropping back last year. I have more learning to do but I can handle
the mental part of playing quarterback.”

And it certainly helps having a guy like Marcus McWilson, another
Class of 2013 standout, as a potential target to throw to down the
field.

“He’s looking great. He’s going to be great at receiver and
safety,” Love said. “He’s a big receiver on the outside with a lot of
speed.”

Like McWilson, who made it down to the state meet in track in the
4X100 relay last season, Love is a member Mooney’s track team where
he’ll probably run in the 100, 200 and 400.

But his main focus right now, of course, is his future on the
gridiron for the Cardinals.

“Right now I’m just trying to focus on football so hopefully I’ll
get a college scholarship and my parents won’t have to pay. That’ll be a
big thing,” he said. “I just want to make it somewhere and play ball
for a big college.”

Admittedly he’s a big Buckeye fan and he plans on camping with Ohio
State this summer.

“I love their defense as well as their offense. I’d love to be
down there with them,” Love said. “My favorite college team is Ohio
State. I just love the way they play since I was little.”

He’s never been to a game but did have a chance to meet one of
the assistant coaches at Mooney’s youth football camp a few years ago
when he was going into the eighth grade.

“I met Coach Siciliano a few years ago,” Love said. “He’s a real
nice guy. He’s the quarterbacks coach.”

Love has a 3.7 GPA and hopes to take the ACT for the first time
in the summer.

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