Football: Tinley Park looks to be mighty under quarterback Quinn Kelly
By Pat Disabato email@example.com July 15, 2014 9:42PM
Tinley Park's Quinn Kelly finds an open receiver for 7 on 7 at Homewood-Flossmoor, Friday, July 11th, 2014, in Flossmoor. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 17, 2014 6:37AM
Expectations are high at Tinley Park for the upcoming season.
So much, in fact, that simply qualifying for the playoffs won’t cut it, according to quarterback Quinn Kelly.
“We just don’t want to make the playoffs,” said Kelly, who’s in his second year as starter. “It’s really important for us to go beyond a game or two in the playoffs. We want to go further and make a name for ourselves.”
After three consecutive seasons of qualifying for the postseason, the Titans fell short in 2013. However, with Kelly back under center and senior Alex Foster and junior Eric Schultz returning at linebacker, hopes are high the Titans can improve upon their 4-5 record of a year ago.
Kelly and the passing game looked awfully good Friday at Homewood-Flossmoor’s Battle of the Border 7-on-7 Passing Tournament.
One of the highlights was when Kelly hooked up with receiver Maurice Robinson on a nifty one-handed sideline completion that drew the attention of onlookers.
“Quinn is looking good,” Tinley Park coach Nick Johnston said. “His arm is stronger, his feet have gotten a little faster and he runs the read-option well. He can hurt teams with his legs. He’s looked good running the offense.
“Maurice has nice hands. He needs to get stronger and run more precise (passing) routes. But he has a lot of potential.”
A major key to the Titans’ success will be how their young offensive line adapts to varsity competition. If the line, which will be comprised of four juniors, allows the running game to flourish and provides Kelly the time to do some damage with his arm, the Titans could be a wild card in the South Suburban Blue race.
“I like our offensive line, but we’re young,” Johnston said. “The juniors have been working their butts off in the weight room. They’re getting better every day. If they can do a stable job of blocking, I like our skill guys a lot.”
The one area on defense that Johnston doesn’t have to worry about is linebacker. Schultz racked up 110 tackles as a sophomore on the varsity last season, and Foster has the ability to alter the momentum of a game by way of a big hit or play.
So far, Kelly has liked what he’s seen from his teammates. There’s good communication among the players and a willingness by the juniors to accept direction from the seniors.
“We tell the juniors that being in practice is like playing a game,” Kelly said. “You have to play hard and execute. If you do that in practice, you’ll do it in the game. Everyone seems to be buying into what the coaches are telling us. The coaches know what they’re doing.”