Little Britches' big role
Sept. 7, 2013 at 4:07 a.m.
EDNA - Refugio coach Jason Herring affectionately calls Tyler Castellano "Little Britches."
The junior put on his big boy pants against Edna.
Castellano returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, caught two touchdown passes and also played as a shut-down cornerback to lead the No. 4 Bobcats to a 42-19 win Friday night at Cowboy Memorial Stadium.
"I know people probably underestimate me," said Castellano, who is listed at 5-foot-7, 150 pounds but is closer to 5-6, 135 pounds. "I try to prove them wrong."
Castellano made his point on the opening kickoff when he spun out of a tackle attempt and went 91 yards to give the Bobcats a lead they never relinquished.
"It's just so hyped at the beginning because all the fans are on their feet," Castellano said. "It gets my adrenaline rushing, and it's just go."
Edna coach Mike Pierce wasn't surprised by Castellano's athleticism.
"That hurt a lot," he said. "But that's a part of football games. All games we've had good kickoff coverage, but they blocked it well, and the kid is a good athlete, and he made something happen."
Castellano also helped Refugio gets its sluggish offense going when he caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Travis Quintanilla in the second quarter and a 70-yard scoring pass from Quintanilla on the Bobcats' first play of the second half.
"Pound for pound, he's one of the best I've ever coached," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "He's only about a buck 35. He's tiny. He really was electric last year as a sophomore, but he had a lot of older players around him. He's had to step up this year as a junior."
Castellano rarely left the field and finished with 248 all-purpose yards.
"We give a monster award for the overall best football player that dominated the game," Herring said. "He won it last week. I'll have to look and see what all happened tonight, but he's that kind of player. He starts both ways; he shuts down receivers. He's just dynamic and a great football player."
Refugio (2-0) extended its regular-season winning streak to 63 games but struggled at times against an Edna (1-1) defense that limited the Bobcats to 113 yards rushing.
"It was a great game for both teams," Herring said. "That's typical of a Mike Pierce team. I respect the heck out of that guy. He's never afraid to play. He always says, 'Let's keep doing it.' It was exactly the way we thought it would be.
"I like the way our special teams stepped up, and I liked the way our defense played," Herring added. "We've just got to grow up on offense. We're young, and at critical times, we do stupid things."
The Bobcats took a 14-0 lead thanks to Castellano's kickoff return and Devon LaFrance's 32-yard interception return for a touchdown.
But they didn't score an offensive touchdown until Quintanilla and Castellano hooked up with 2:15 left in the second quarter.
"Our defense really played," Pierce said. "They just got worn out in the fourth quarter. They were on the field so much. In the first half, we did some really good stuff on defense, and they hit some big plays on us, but they're capable of doing that all the time."
Edna's Marquis Broussard carried 23 times and 93 yards and scored on runs of 5 and 19 yards.
But Refugio limited the Cowboys to 16 net yards in the second half. The Bobcats put the game away on touchdown runs of 1 yard by Isaiah Perez and 9 yards by J.B. Brown.
"I don't think it will be long," Castellano said. "We'll get used to it. Everybody is going to have to step up and finally realize it's our turn to do our thing. Not be role players but to be star players."