Tonight’s Kiwanis Bowl will be about making memories. Memories for players, coaches ... and fathers.
Bob Smedley is one of those fathers. His son, Brady, will be playing defensive end and right guard for Ashland in its annual showdown with Russell in Putnam Stadium.
Bob Smedley hopes his son’s experience in the Kiwanis Bowl is much like his own. Smedley has a little Kiwanis Bowl history on his side having played in the last Coles-Putnam game in series history in 1978.
The Broncos won the game 6-0 on Scott Crank’s 56-yard touchdown run in the mud. The play was left 51 trap, a simple handoff from Smedley to Crank. it turned out to be the only score on a rainy, muddy night.
“We moved Scott to running back in that game,” Smedley said. “It was the first game I’d started at quarterback.”
Smedley was usually a receiver for Coles, but coach Jerry Mayes wanted to get the ball to the talented Crank more often in a game where the weather wasn’t going to cooperate.
There are many father-son Kiwanis Bowl stories and even some grandfather-grandson connections. So many have participated in the Kiwanis Bowl, which has been an area fixture since 1951.
Smedley appreciates tradition so much he even maintains a Facebook page dedicated to Coles Junior High. He’ll run menus from the day and posts any photos he can get his hands on.
The Kiwanis Bowl “will always be Coles-Putnam to me,” he said. His son knows about the history of the game and that his father played a part in it.
“I told him how important it is,” Smedley said. “He’s known for a couple of years now that I played in that game. He’s looked at my old yearbook. I told him how Ashland used to have two junior high schools and all those athletes came together to form the Tomcats. That was the feeder system.”
Smedley didn’t play any more football after that Kiwanis Bowl although he was a standout basketball player and track athlete at Ashland.
“That was my last football game, other than sandlot,” Smedley said.
He also became an entertaining wrestler as Bobby Blaze, enjoying that fame as it came.
But Smedley will always consider that Kiwanis Bowl victory as one of his athletic highlights. He hopes son Brady can say the same after tonight’s game with undefeated Russell.
Brady was one of the players invited to Wednesday’s Kiwanis Bowl luncheon. “That was awesome,” his father said. “I dressed him up nice. I told him how special this game is in the community.”
You may see Bob Smedley in the stands at tonight’s game if you go. He’ll be the one wearing the new Coles Junior High T-shirt.
More on ’62
I received several nice emails about Wednesday’s column about the 1962 Coles-Putnam Kiwanis Bowl.
One was from Eugene Sammons, who was a center for the Broncos. He was injured in the first half, but after a pep talk from coach Claude Blanton returned to play the rest of the game.
“He said, ‘Eugene, we really need you out there if you can make it.’ I was injured, but I wasn’t coming out,” he said.
Sammons, like so many others who recall the game, talked about the freezing temperatures.
Mark Greene, a band member, said those thin band uniforms didn’t do much to keep anybody warm and that his trumpet mouthpiece had to be warmed up before playing it.
Here’s another interesting note: No. 24 for the Broncos was Vic Marsh, who would go on to become Ashland’s winningest football coach and led the Tomcats to their last state championship in 1990. Vic was the head coach at Coles for a few seasons before joining the high school staff. He still has a program from that 1962 Kiwanis Bowl.
Small world? You betcha.
My good friend Dave Taylor, a top-notch local cartoonist whose work has appeared in this newspaper and countless area t-shirts for years, was recently honored at his high school in Indiana for being a member of the first team at Clarksville High School.
Clarksville recognized the 1962 team on its 50th anniversary with a special banquet and introductions at a game.
Taylor did a little bit of everything for the Generals during a 4-2 season including punting and kicking. He told the coach in the spring when they first formed the team that he could kick and was going to win that job. He also started on offense and defense in the inaugural season.
“We didn’t even know how to put on the equipment,” Taylor said. “But we ended up having a winning season.”
Taylor played the first two seasons in Clarksville High School history.
He said the weekend was special for him and the other 13 players from that first team. They each received a plague and were given the red carpet treatment. “It was a whole lot more than I thought it was going to be,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s two sons, Andy and Danny, were outstanding athletes at Boyd County High School in the 1990s.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2648.