Freshman Ryan Quinn shows love for football on winless JV team

Freshman Ryan Quinn of Taft, despite still recovering from a broken wrist, is having fun playing for an 0-8 JV team while being new to the sport. He's a soccer player.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Taft’s winless junior varsity team was staying competitive with Birmingham on Monday night in a makeup football game. There was a freshman, Ryan Quinn, running all over the field despite his right arm being wrapped from a broken wrist. He was playing running back, catching passes at receiver, making tackles at cornerback and even made a field goal.

After another loss, the eighth of the season, Quinn was still smiling and showing that competing in high school sports isn’t always about winning and losing but learning and having fun. It’s his first year playing football. He’s a soccer player. But every game and every practice, he’s learning to compete. He broke his wrist in August and came back to score on a 66-yard touchdown last week.

“I just love the sport,” he said. “I’m a soccer player but I have that mentality to fight and I love playing.”


He said he loves his coach, Robert Duncan, and his teammates.

Duncan says he wishes he had 11 players on the field like Quinn.

Taft hasn’t won a JV or varsity game on the field this season. It’s a far cry from the days the Toreadors were producing NFL players Michael Thomas and Antwaun Woods.

But building around players like Quinn can be a start. He wants to learn, wants to play, wants to compete. That’s what high school sports is supposed to be about.