Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida have some of the best football traditions in the United States.
The high school and college programs from those places rest upon a mountain with little company, and their legends are too abundant to even try and list.
So when participants from each of those states and more come to Cardinal Mooney's Camp of Champions, it really says something about the school and its football program.
"People from places all over the country plan their summers around this camp," Mooney coach P.J. Fecko said. "It's humbling, and it's great to know that Cardinal Mooney is something that brings people together. We're very proud of that, and that alumni and friends believe so strongly in our school that they want to come here and contribute to it."
On Monday July 9, the Cardinals will host the 10th Annual edition to the two-day camp, which has featured some of the biggest names in football, including Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, and former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.
This year's instructors include Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, Florida State defensive coordiantor Mark Stoops, and Kansas City Chiefs safety Kyle McCarthy.
"When these guys come here, it's during the free time of their busy schedules," Fecko said. "It's easy for anybody to simply write a check, but for these people to donate their time to this is very special. It says a lot about how much this school has touched their lives."
One person whose summer is especially busy is former Mooney quarterback Kyle McCarthy, who led the Cardinals to the 2004 state championship, which was the program's first title since 1987. He is now a safety for the Kansas City Chiefs.
"I owe so much to coach Fecko and everyone else at Cardinal Mooney," he said. "This is just a small thing that I can do to give back to the school that's helped me be the peson I am, and taught me how to play football. Plus, it's a great opportunity to reconnect with people and at the same time do something for the community as a whole."
The contributions are undoubtedly what keep the camp going, but the birth of its idea and its conception may be more impressive.
"More than ten years ago, Bob, Mike and Mark, and Bo Pelini - who's a really close friend of the family - and Carl (Pelini, Florida Atlantic University head coach), and Tim Beck (offensive coordinator at Nebraska)," said former Mooney assistant coach Ron Stoops, who is now an assistant at Youngstown State University. "We obviously wanted to help Cardinal Mooney, but we wanted to think of a way to give back to the entire community. The Mahoning Valley is such a great place for football that we wanted to do something to reflect that."
Once the idea picked up momentum, Denise and John York, then owners of the San Francisco 49ers, emerged to provide the primary sponsorship of the event.
"The Yorks, and now including Jed (current owner of the 49ers) have been there since the beginning, and their help is invaluable," Ron Stoops said. "It's also part of the reason we named the event Camp of Champions. At the time, Mooney had four state titles, and the 49ers had their five Super Bowl championships, so it just seemed like the right thing to do."
The 2002 football season was also Fecko's third year, a time when he was starting to see the fruits of the infrastructure he helped build for the program that he was handed down to him after Don Bucci retired. Then in '04, he began a run that produced four more state titles, and six championship appearances.
"I really don't think that's a coincidence," Ron Stoops said. "This program really started to extend its tradition right around the same time the camp started. It's a good way for people to see the facilities we've built here, meet the coaches, and see what makes this place what it is."
One of the ways the camp conveys those elements is by focusing not so much on Xs and Os, but rather the philosophy of football.
"One thing I wanted from this program is to create an atmosphere that would allow young people to love the game," Bo Pelini said during last year's camp. "If you can do that, then it won't be hard to motivate them - they will want to come out and give everything they have to become the best players they can be."
If that works, it could have a huge ripple effect. The camp attracts more than 300 players each year, and hasn't shown signs of slowing.
"We couldn't believe the turnout on the very first year, and it's been going strong ever since," Fecko said. "It's really become part of this school, and we're very proud of it, and thankful for all the people that contribute to it."
McCarthy was just an underclassman when the camp begam, but he remembers it.
"I remember when it started, and all of the people they got to come here - it was very impressive to me at the time, and it still is," he said. "I'm just happy I get to come back and contribute to it, and make sure it keeps going."
Registration pamphlets are available at Boardman YMCA, Creekside Fitness, Field of Dreams, Sports World and Friendly's Restaurant. Those interested may download a registration form at www.cardinalmooney.com. For details, call 330-788-5007.