Norwin notebook: Kicker Joe Castle piling up ‘tackles’

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Saturday, September 11, 2021 | 11:01 AM


How did Norwin junior kicker Joe Castle get credit for four tackles when he did 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 Sept. 3 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,” Knights 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.”

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 Latrobe 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.

Bilinsky offered

Things are looking up for Norwin junior basketball player Adam Bilinsky — literally.

Not only can the athletic guard sky for slam dunks, as he showed during AAU season, but he is beginning to pop up on college radars. The 6-foot-2 Bilinsky received an offer last week from Pitt- Johnstown, where his brother, Ty, is a freshman walk-on.

Adam Bilinsky has been a key contributor for Norwin since his freshman season.

Valinsky coaching again

Buddy Valinsky, who guided the Norwin boys basketball team for two years, is going to work with the Boys & Girls Club in Shadyside. The program has served as the ground floor entrance for many of the top City League players in recent years, as well as helping suburban players ages 6-14 through various clinics and games.

Valinsky said WPIAL coaches Jim Rocco and Molly Rottman have taken players to the club.

H2N

The Pitt women’s soccer roster has quite the local flavor. Make that Norwin flavor.

Norwin alums include sophomore Eva Fankovic, freshmen Lacey Bernick and Katlyn Kaufman and redshirt sophomore Emily Harrigan, a transfer from Rutgers.

Harrigan had an assist for the Panthers in a 5-0 win over New Jersey Institute of Technology. Pitt was off to a 5-0 start. Harrigan came off the bench to play in all five games.

Clean sheets

Ohio women’s soccer player Sam Wexell (Norwin), a senior goalkeeper, posted three shutouts and made 10 saves in her first three starts of the season for the Bobcats.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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