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Morris Sussex Sports covers 37 football teams that consists of about 1,000 players in Morris, Sussex and parts of Warren counties. Out of those 1,000 players, Morris Sussex Sports and Parisi Speed School honors just one athlete who does something special each week with the Parisi Speed School Player of the Week.  Go to Parisi Speed School to raise your game and become faster, bigger and stronger.  Mention “Morris Sussex Sports” and receive a FREE Speed Pass to one of their world class training sessions.  

Round 1 of the 2018 playoffs was not without amazing individual performances. Montville’s Mike Burke was a man possessed as he rushed for 133-yards and two TDs, passed for 196-yards and one TD and picked up 6 tackles defensively in the Mustangs 24-17 win over Warren Hills. Morris Knolls’ Connor Chegwidden was a man on a mission on both sides of the ball as he picked up a host of tackles defensively and scored two touchdowns offensively in the Golden Eagles’ 20-14 victory over Norther Highlands. And High Point’s Travis Tallamy was only thinking about one thing, advancing to Round 2, as he picked up 144-yards and 4 TDs in the Wildcats 38-7 romping of Ramsey.

But the player we felt deserved the Parisi Player of the Week the most was Sparta runningback Austin Castorina. The junior did it all as he rushed for 215-yards and three touchdowns, caught a 4-yard reception and even completed a 38-yard pass as the Spartans rolled past Lakeland 35-16.

We caught up with Castorina to discuss this game, his incredible junior season in general and what we can expect from the Spartans the rest of the way.

Morris Sussex Sports: Did you think you were going to have such a monster season coming into junior year?
Austin Castorina: Yes I knew it was my time to do my thing this year. I put so much work in the off-season almost everyday of the week with my brother.

MSS: What is it about Sparta that they are always one of the top teams in the area no matter how many seniors they lose to graduation?
AC: Our coaches really prepare each player year-in and year-out so when it is their time they are ready. Also the seniors each year are always great leaders and show the younger guys the way. I got to see Alex Milliken and Thomas Agudo dominate the running back position and they really helped me as a young player. Each player sees the responsibilities they will end up having watching the upperclassmen.

MSS: This week you had yardage rushing, receiving and throwing. Do you prefer one over the other?
AC: I prefer running the ball because I love the challenge of making someone miss, running them over, or even jumping over them. I’ll do anything Coach Marsh wants me to do and I am gonna do my job.

MSS: What’s it like playing for Coach Marchiano?
AC: Playing for Coach Marsh is awesome! He has a great mind for the game and puts everyone on the team in a position to get a ring each year. I have become such a better football player being around him. He has taught me how to read coverage, what plays work in situations, and most importantly he taught me how to read holes as a running back. I wouldn’t have had the season I had without him by my side. He is gonna make sure the team is like a family and are close together. Everyday he makes our team better and I wanna get a ring more and more.

MSS: What is the most inspiring thing he’s ever said?
AC: Probably what he says every year during playoffs which is play for the seniors to put the pads on for another week because once it is done it’s done.

MSS: What’s the funniest thing he’s ever said?
AC: When a helicopter flew over our practice and we all looked while he was teaching plays he said to us “you like looking at the helicopter? Have fun looking at it while you run” and he blew his whistle and we ran.

MSS: What was your welcome to varsity football moment?
AC: Being pulled up as a freshman running scout team getting drilled by linebackers Robbie Gennat and Mike Rossiter each week.

MSS: Who on your team is finishing 1-2-3 in the forty?
C: Paul Shumlas, Jhordin Griffin and me

MSS: Who can bench 225-pounds for the most reps?
AC: Me or Tyler Lewis

MSS: Who who is the most intense on your team?
AC: Ryan Richardson, he is always pushing both sides of the ball making sure everyone gets the job done. He goes against our offense and makes us better.

Who is the toughest player on your team?
AC: Ryan Richardson, because no matter who it is or what injury he has he is gonna go out on that field and light someone up every single play. He is determined to win.

MSS: Who is the funniest?
AC: Tyler Lewis. There is not a specific thing he says it is just every single day he finds some way to make everyone laugh.

MSS: Do you have a different relationship with your linemen than other teammates since their job is to open holes for you?
AC: Yes the lineman and I always go out to eat and I have paid for their meals before. I love every single one of them we would die for each other.

MSS: Who is finishing 1-2-3 in the forty among your linemen?
AC: Ollie Sears, TJ Hurley, Jordan Gregoli

MSS: Which one of your linemen secretly wishes he was a skill player?
AC: Timmy Sember, he’s my best friend I know him too well.

MSS: Which one of your linemen would win a taco eating contest?
AC: Tyler Lewis, I out-ate once him though (laughs).

MSS: Which teammate would you not want to go head to head against?
AC: Ryan Richardson because he makes me better.

MSS: Who’s been the best athlete you ever played football against?
AC: Max Baker who runs a 4.5 and chased me down from a 50 yard run and stripped me from behind at the one yard-line.

MSS: If your house was burning, what possession would you run back in for?
AC: Phone, football equipment, my money, and my Lebron Jerseys.

MSS: If you weren’t playing football, what would you be doing?
AC: Probably playing lacrosse.

MSS: Who is your favorite athlete?
AC: Lebron James

MSS: Finish this sentence – in 10 years I will be:
AC: A college football announcer or football coach.

MSS: If you were going to have a “last meal,” what would it be?
AC: Wings

MSS: Aside athletics, do you have any hidden talents?
AC: I can sing very well.

MSS: What’s your favorite movie?
AC: Jurassic Park

MSS: Do you have any pregame rituals?
AC: After running onto the field I go straight to the end zone and pray for my best friends dad who was my second father and makes sure he knows I am playing for him.

MSS: What can we expect from the Spartans the rest of the way?
AC: A State Championship!

MSS: Congrats Austin on such a great week and best of luck the rest of the way!
AC: Thank you!

George Muha has been covering high school sports since 2006. He feels high school scholar-athletes are the most important part of the community and highlighting their achievements on the field, in the classroom and within the community is his personal mission.

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