Castle Knights rely on veteran leadership and football knowledge to carry success

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Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 11:16 PM CDT
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NEWBURGH, Ind. (WFIE) - The Castle High School football program has the same motto every season – competing the “Castle” way.

Historically, Castle has performed well in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference. In 2021, the Knights finished with a 7-3 record, falling to Jasper and Mater Dei in the regular season before ultimately ending their year with a first-round sectional loss against Bloomington South.

While it was not the ending that Castle had hoped for to the season, last year’s group excelled in many categories, including its defensive prowess.

The Knights had the second-best defensive average in Class 5A, allowing only 12.4 points per game.

“Football is a game of players and when you have dynamic players, smart players who can make plays on the defensive side of the ball, it makes you look really good as a coach,” Castle head coach Doug Hurt said. “We were very smart last season and the past couple of seasons. We’ve got to replenish that. Try to get these young guys up to speed.”

Where the Knights lost talent, they gained room for opportunity. Senior linebacker John Purdy led the team in tackles last season with 116 total tackles (56 solo). He said although they feel the loss of those major defensive forces, he is confident in the talented athletes who remain.

‘We know we’re not the biggest group, so we know we have to do the fundamentals correctly, that has been emphasized a lot more this year because in previous years we’ve had larger guys,” Purdy said. “It’s all about confidence, having confidence on the field, and confidence comes from practice.”

While a strong defensive presence has seemingly been the identity of this program for the past few years, Hurt said the veteran offensive core is going to step up in a big way.

“As Coach Hurt always says, ‘You got to do it the ‘Castle’ way,’ you got to want to compete, you got to want to be better than the guy across from you,” Castle senior wide receiver Weston Aigner said. “Doing the extra stuff to make it carry over into playoffs and the regular season.”

The Knights take on North at Bundrant Stadium Friday at 7 p.m.

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