Injured Football Star Uses Voice to Lead Tuskers

Somers senior Tommy Castelluccio, right, dominated on the defensive line over his career and was a starter on the Tuskers’ Section 1 championship squad as a sophomore. Credits: File photo

Somers senior Tommy Castelluccio was a team captain and offensive/defensive lineman on the varsity football team. Castelluccio tore his ACL in the first game of this past season against Rye and missed the rest of the year. He was a starter as a sophomore in the Tuskers’ Section 1 championship victory over Rye.

How old were you when you first started playing football and how did you get started?

I started football in third grade. My dad got me involved with football and my coach was Mr. DeVito.

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You suffered a season ending injury early in the season. Describe what actually happened and when did you find out the injury would cause you to miss the season?

It was the first quarter and I was trying to get off a block. My left leg was flexed out and a lineman from Rye fell on the outside of my knee. When he fell into my knee my body fell backwards and I hit the ground and heard three pops. I found out going into week three against Lourdes that I tore my ACL and the thing is I was supposed to play in Week 2 against Panas but my trainer said I wasn’t ready yet and to wait till I got a MRI. Dr. Nickolas checked my knee and when I heard the news I was just lost for words. I really didn’t know how to react to the situation that my last season here has now come to an end.

Obviously I’m sure it was devastating news for you. How tough was it to stand on the sidelines and watch the games most of this season?

With this injury and knowing it was over was one of the hardest things I have had to deal with. Coming to practice everyday standing there and just watching was hard. It was very difficult to hold back tears because I was supposed to be the guy who led our team. Watching the games was very hard to do because on the field you can’t see the mistakes that are happening and with the last season we had it just hurt. It felt like I was handcuffed and I couldn’t do anything to help.

Being you couldn’t physically play, do you feel like you became a more vocal leader in return on the sidelines and in what ways did you help your teammates?

Yes with the fact that I could no longer help on the field I had to use my voice, I became a completely different person. During practice while our coaches would teach the game plan and we would run our drills I was able to focus on the small things like with the defensive line. I was teaching them their footwork that every step matters and using their hands to get off a block. I gave my teammates motivation. I gave them hope to believe we had a chance to win despite what people said to us. I made us fight even when the odds were against us.

The team had a bit of a rollercoaster of a season with a huge win over a team like Yorktown and some crushing losses on the other hand. The team reached the quarterfinals of the playoffs but I’m sure you guys had plans to go further. How do you evaluate the season as a whole?

Yeah the season was a rollercoaster; we had so many ups and downs from losing to Rye to killing Yorktown then going out and losing to Brewster. I thought for us you never knew what Somers team was coming out to play. For a team that had injuries all year losing two captains and other teammates and the fact that we made it that far was something special to us regardless of how far we proved that we were a team and could do anything we set our minds to. Overall of course the goal for everyone is to win the section title and ultimately we failed, but as a team we accomplished so much more as people and as a family and despite the losses the injuries and the tears I wouldn’t of wanted to do it with anyone else other then my brothers. It was an experience of a lifetime.

The team won its second straight section title when you were a sophomore. What was it like to be a part of that run?

My sophomore year was really special. We won the section again for the second year and with that being my first year on varsity and to say I had a part of that is something I will always remember.

As a senior captain, how did you see your role on the team, and how much did you value being a team leader?

In all my years I had never been a captain for anything and for me to be captain in my senior year was really special. My role since I couldn’t play was to teach our guys the steps and the rules and mostly to give them that hope that even in the hardest times we still have a chance. Just a chance is something great.  I valued being a leader for my team. It’s a really big role and that was just something I never could say before.

What is your favorite team activity, pre-game or post-game ritual that you share with your teammates?

My favorite pre-game ritual was right before we would go out Coach DeMatteo would give us a speech before every game to get ready and I loved that. Also I loved going into the locker room blasting music with the teammates and just having a good time. That was the best.

Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?

My biggest role model is Coach Packard. He was the guy who was there for me for everything. When you’re with someone for three years you get to know a person and he just taught me so much and I could never thank him for that and also being not just a coach but a friend. Also Coach Dematteo is just an amazing man. What he does for everyone not just in football but outside. He was like a father to us who would yell at you but you know he only did it because he wanted the best out of you. He made me into the person I am today and I will never forget him.

Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?

One thing not many people know about me is that people never saw me as the guy who could speak up for himself.  They always saw this quiet and shy kid.

Do you plan on continuing to play football in college? If yes, have you committed yet and where are you going?

I do plan on playing in college. I haven’t committed anywhere yet but I do have a few in mind.

Do you know what you want to study in college? If yes, what and why?

In college I want to study kinesiology and then going into strength and conditioning training and train athletes in a college.

Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?

My favorite sports athlete is J.J Watt. I just think that man is an incredible football player.  My favorite college is Notre Dame.

What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a game?

My favorite pre-game music is rap music by Eminem.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

If I could have one superpower it would be to have super strength because you can do whatever you want. I would go to Alaska because it looks so nice and I love the outdoors.

What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?

My favorite food before a game is a chicken cutlet sandwich and for after a game honestly anything that I can eat because I’m always starving.

Best place to eat in Somers and why?

My favorite place to eat is Somers is 202 because their food is really good and the people are nice.

Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Why?

I prefer Instagram because I can post my football pictures on it.

For a young athlete growing up in Somers, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the football program and why should they go out for the team?

Being an athlete in Somers is just amazing. You just learn so much from great people. If you are ever thinking about playing football here you should go for it.  It’s truly an experience of a lifetime.


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