Kicker Castle emerges as Norwin football’s secret weapon

By:
Saturday, September 4, 2021 | 5:48 PM


How did Norwin junior kicker Joe Castle get credit for four tackles and not hit anyone?

Norwin coach Dave Brozeski credits the kicker with a tackle if his kickoff reaches the end zone for a touchback. Four of Castle’s six kickoffs did so Friday against Latrobe.

He had a fifth kickoff that reached the goal line. The receiver caught it with one foot in the end zone and returned it.

“He’s also a good punter,” senior quarterback Luke Levendosky said. “He’s had two punts roll dead at the 1-yard line. He helps us so much with the little things. He’s one of the best kickers in the WPIAL, if not the best.”

Castle booted the deciding 21-yard field goal to lead Norwin (1-1) to a thrilling 31-28 victory. He said he was prepared to try a longer one.

“It was nerve-racking, but you have to stay calm,” Castle said. “I just do what I do every day. I just try to stay clean up and through the ball.”

Castle is a former soccer player and handles all the kicking duties for the Knights.

“He wanted to play with friends,” Brozeski said. “He’s definitely a weapon for us. He’s been doing a very good job the first two games. He’s able to help us out a lot with field position that you never see on a stat line.”

And Castle hopes his leg helps him earn a college scholarship. He said he has been talking with several college coaches.

Castle attended various kicking camps over the summer, and Brozeski said he brings it to Fridays.

“I attended the Kohl’s kicking camp and Hammer Kicking Academy,” Castle said. “Kohl’s gets kickers into college. I’ve learned a lot.

“My goal is to kick in college. I want to keep growing and getting better.”

Latrobe coach Jason Marucco said when you have a kicker that has the ability to get touchbacks, you’re asking 16- to 18-year-old kids to run a lot of plays without mental errors and it’s a tremendous advantage.”

Cats still potent

Even though Latrobe played without starting quarterback Bobby Fetter for two-and-half quarters, the Wildcats still put points on the board.

They did so behind the strong running of Drake Clayton and Kyle Brewer and good line play.

Clayton rushed for 212 yards on 16 carries, including an 85-yard touchdown run. Brewer rushed for 69 yards and scored three touchdowns. He has six touchdowns for the season.

“We fought through some adversity, and the offensive line did a great job,” coach Jason Marucco said. “All I know about Bobby is that he has a left shoulder injury. I though Brayden (Reott) did a great job running the offense and gave us a chance to win the football game.

“They rallied around Brayden while feeling for Bobby. As much of a disappointment, there was a lot of pride in our football program and our players. We’re going to build on this moving forward.”

Camo Knight

As part of Armed Forces night at Norwin, the football team wore camo jerseys provided by The Pennsylvania Army National Guard during the game.

Greensburg Salem also wore camo jerseys at its game against Connellsville.

“We wanted to get the players uniforms so they could show their support,” local recruiter Domingo Smith said. “It shows their leadership and coming together as a family as well as the armed forces.”

After pregame, the Norwin players and coaches shook the hands or hugged members of the military before going into their locker room.

Brozeski said the players were honored to wear the jerseys.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

Tags:

More High School Football

Westmoreland County high school notebook: New challenge awaits Latrobe after WPIAL realignment
PSFCA announces rosters for 2024 East-West all-star football games
8 WPIAL all-stars selected for 67th annual Big 33 Football Classic
Burrell football coach Shawn Liotta named general manager for USA Football U20 team
WPIAL reveals Aliquippa’s 5A conference, but football coach says ‘it’s not settled’