Tinley Park’s Quinn Kelly far from green

SHARE Tinley Park’s Quinn Kelly far from green

Strengths vary from quarterback to quarterback.

Many boast a strong arm. Others, exceptional passing accuracy. Some are born leaders.

Tinley Park quarterback Quinn Kelly is the complete package.

“He’s like another coach on the field,” Tinley Park coach Nick Johnston said. “He spends a lot of time the classroom breaking down film of opponents. He has a strong, accurate arm and he’s a leader.

Quinn’s the whole package.”

When Kelly was an 8-year-old on the Tinley Park Bulldogs, the starting quarterback suffered an injury. A backup at the time, Kelly was thrust into the starting role.

He’s never looked back.

“I always liked being the leader on the field and the guy everyone else looks to when things are going wrong,” he said. “I like challenge of being able to come through for my teammates.”

The 6-2, 170-pound Kelly earned All-South Suburban Red honors a year ago despite the Titans finishing 4-5 and failing to qualify for the playoffs. Kelly easily would trade the individual accolades for an opportunity to compete in the postseason.

“I want to go to the playoffs and help this team go as far as we can,” Kelly said. “I believe we’re a dangerous team.”

The Titans suffered a setback in their early quest to make the playoffs this season, falling 20-18 on Friday to Joliet West. Kelly, though, is confident Tinley Park will bounce back Friday vs. St. Ignatius.

“We have to take this week a lot more serious,” said Kelly, who passed for 160 yards and two touchdowns vs. Joliet West. “We’ve got to come out of the gates ready to play. The offense wasn’t clicking, but we’ll get it figured out.”

A two-sport athlete, Kelly hasn’t figured out for certain which sport — football or baseball — he wants to pursue in college. Whichever he chooses, he would prefer to stay close to home.

“It’s a tough decision,” Kelly said. “I’m going to have to think it through. Right now I’m leaning toward football, but I’m not sure.”

One thing he is sure about is his decision to attend Tinley Park and play two sports. In a day and age in which specializing in one sport is gaining more traction, Kelly never gave it a second thought. In fact, his coaches pushed him to play two sports.

“Being a two-sport athlete is hard, but you get the winter off to get ready for baseball,” Kelly said. “It’s not as demanding as some people say it is. I’ve played both sports my whole life. I love them both.

“The coaches at Tinley encourage you to play other sports and the teachers stress the importance of being a leader.”

Kelly plans to utilize his leadership skills ON the baseball diamond in the spring. An infielder/pitcher, the right-hander is excited not only about the prospects of a winning senior season, but possibly playing on the same team as his younger brother, Colin, a sophomore.

“He has a shot at playing varsity,” said Kelly, whose older brother Pat graduated from Tinley Park. “We’ve never played on the same team. To have that experience as a senior in high school would be awesome.”

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