Richards safety Sebastian Castro was the Bulldogs’ best defensive player, and rushed for 618 yards and nine touchdowns while throwing for 402 yards and four scores during his time on offense. Photo by Jason Maholy
By Steve Millar
Whether he was dominating in the secondary or making plays at a variety of offensive positions, Sebastian Castro did it all for Richards.
The senior All-State selection played safety, quarterback, running back, receiver and even some fullback – and loved every minute of it.
“It was so much fun,” Castro said. “I was able to train and practice at all those positions and get to know what we trying to do at every spot. I’ve never done so much all in one season, so I really enjoyed it.
“I take a lot of pride in being versatile and I want to do anything I can to help the team win.”
Castro, The Regional-Reporter 2018 Football Player of the Year, helped Richards do plenty of winning.
The Bulldogs went 12-1, reaching the Class 6A semifinals for the first time since 2013 before falling to Crete-Monee in heartbreaking fashion. The Warriors rallied from a 12-point deficit in the final two minutes to stun Richards, 38-35.
“It was a great season,” Castro said. “Of course, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to. It meant a lot, though. It was great for our school, our community. A lot of people came out to our games every Friday night and supported us, and it was a good feeling to have success for them.”
Castro ran 59 times for 618 yards and nine touchdowns, and completed 22 of 32 passes for 402 yards and four touchdowns.
At safety, the position Iowa recruited him to play, he was a constant force. He had six interceptions, forced four fumbles and recovered three. He finished with 95 tackles, including six for loss.
“I don’t know if there’s anybody that made a bigger impact on any football game this season than him,” Richards coach Tony Sheehan said. “He did everything. He made all the calls defensively. Offensively, we put him at quarterback, receiver, running back.
“The things he did, you go back and see it on film and you’re like, ‘How did he make that play?’”
Sheehan believes Castro, a three-year varsity player, has firmly entrenched himself as a major part of Richards football history.
“He could go down as the best football player to ever play at Richards, and that’s saying a lot,” Sheehan said.
As great as Castro’s physical talents are, Sheehan said his unselfish nature is just as important.
His selfless attitude was evident when quarterback Marquel Porter joined the team this season after transferring from conference rival Shepard. Castro was the Bulldogs’ quarterback as a junior, but was fine with making room for Porter.
“Whatever made the team better, I was all for that,” Castro said. “Whatever they needed me to do, I was good with it.”
Castro’s approach helped develop a team-first mentality throughout the Bulldogs.
“He’s the most unselfish and low-maintenance kid we’ve had,” Sheehan said. “It’s never about him. It’s always about the team winning. The other guys see a star player acting like that and they follow his lead.”
Porter’s presence allowed Castro to play offense less, helping Sheehan him fresh for his role on defense.
Whenever Castro was needed, though, he was there. He rarely came off the field in the postseason, scoring key late touchdowns in both a second-round win over Yorkville and a quarterfinal victory over Normal West.
“Being a competitor, you should always want the ball,” Castro said. “You should want to do whatever you can to win.
“There were times where if the offense was struggling and I was sitting out and just playing defense, me being me, I wanted to be in. I didn’t want to watch it happen. If we were going to lose, I wanted to lose with me on the field, not watching it.”
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