“At that point, I was as confident as I could be,” he said. “I learned offense under Mike, wishbone under Herb and defense under Herb.”
The Tomcats opened the 1981 season against Leslie County in the Recreation Bowl and highly regarded quarterback Mike Whitaker.
“It was all I could do the two weeks building up to that game and trying not to show any fear,” he said. “There was so much hype. The Courier-Journal was calling, the Lexington paper was calling … I wasn’t used to giving interviews.”
Ashland defeated Leslie County 27-14 to begin the Marsh era with a victory. Three-sport star Scott Crank was put in at free safety and helped tame Whitaker. Crank was named the Recreation Bowl’s Star of Stars.
Marsh finally relaxed, realizing he was well prepared for Ashland’s mighty expectations.
“It was the expectations. I played at Ashland, I knew what the expectations were. That’s why it makes it such a great job, there are great expectations. It does pressure you. But the job is to try and win games.”
He did it more than anyone else, including the 14-1 season in 1990. His son, Scott, was a sophomore contributor that season. Marsh’s Tomcats had a lot of big moments even in defeat. The 6-0 overtime loss to Covington Catholic in the 1988 semifinals ranks as one of the greatest games ever played in Putnam Stadium.
“I think that game set the stage for the next two years,” Marsh said. “Juan and Charlie (Johnson) were sophomores on that (’88) team. They got a taste of what it was like.”
Ashland’s 19-14 victory over Bell County in the 1990 state semifinal game was another of the great ones at Putnam Stadium.
Who knew that scrawny boy who grew up on Central Avenue would someday take his place beside the Ashland legends?
Vic Marsh is still shaking his head in disbelief at the notion.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 32 6-2648.