For the first six weeks of the 2018 high school football season, Avon Lake junior tight end Nick Marsh was forced to watch from the sideline as his Shoremen teammates amassed a perfect 6-0 start.
During two-a-days last August, Marsh leaped up to catch a ball, bent backward and flipped on his side while coming down and suffered a lacerated kidney. Marsh spent the following night in the hospital and said he suffered a pretty significant mental block during his recovery when he was limited to no physical activity.
“It hurt a lot,” Marsh said. “I just wanted to be out there with my brothers. I knew it was going to be a special season for us with my grade and the grade above.”
Getting back onto the field in week seven against Amherst, Marsh said he felt hesitant and worried he would be injured again. After time, though, he said all those concerns went out the window, and he was just thrilled to be back on the field.
Another person who can’t wait to have Marsh available is Shoremen head coach Matt Kostelnik.
Kostelnik hopes that Marsh, alongside senior receivers Nate Sidloski and Creed Bolognia, can make life easier for whoever takes over for Jack Mikolich at quarterback.
“(It’s going to be great) having Marsh back and healthy and being able to get some tight-end production out of him that we haven’t had in the past,” Kostelnik said.
In Marsh’s six games in 2018, the Shoremen went 4-2, with wins coming against Amherst, Berea-Midpark, Midview and a playoff win against Olmsted Falls. Avon Lake’s season ended against Toledo Central Catholic in the Regional semi-final.
Going into 2019, Marsh acknowledged the team’s desire to return to the playoffs. But he knows the Shoremen will have to take care of business in the regular season first.
“We obviously want to get back there, back to TCC, but we wanna focus on winning the Southwestern Conference again this year, too,” Marsh said. “That’s one of our main focuses this offseason.”
Marsh, in his third season as a varsity starter, has had to step into a leadership role this offseason and pick up where last year’s seniors left off. He has embraced that role, saying he wanted the responsibility, and credited the class before him with instilling the right mindset to prepare for the season.
“You can’t be a successful team without having leaders that are willing to push the other guys to their limits,” Marsh said. “(Last year’s seniors) were always in the weight room, always on the field, always putting in extra work so it was huge seeing some of our best guys out there leading. Not just doing it in the shadows, but getting other guys involved too.”
Marsh is keeping his post-graduation options open. He said he’s been talking to colleges since he was a sophomore.
“A lot of the MAC and Patriot League and some Ivy League schools,” he said. “I’m undecided yet. It kind of just depends on if the right situation comes with football.”
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