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Quarterback bloodlines strengthen Teddy Purcell

Teddy Purcell and Sacred Heart Prep went to the CCS semifinals in 2019. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Teddy Purcell and Sacred Heart Prep went to the CCS semifinals in 2019. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

The quarterback position is a historical spot in Sacred Heart Prep senior quarterback Teddy Purcell’s family. 

His uncle, Ryan Tollner, was a quarterback and is now an NFL agent and is the founder of Rep 1 Sports, representing athletes like Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. His grandfather, Ray Tollner, was a quarterback and talks football with Purcell all the time when he’s over at the house, discussing the intricacies of the position, going over past games and looking ahead to what’s next on the schedule. His grandfather’s brother, Ted Tollner, was also a quarterback.

So, Purcell’s family is steeped in tradition guiding an offense, and he loves it. 

“They’ve helped me so much,” Purcell said. “I thank my grandpa first and foremost. He lives near me, so he hasn’t missed a game since my freshman year, and every time he comes, if he comes back to the house he’s talking to me about different things. He comes over on the weekends. We go golfing.”

“And my uncle, he’s a little bit younger, so he’s a little bit more in tune with the modern game, so he’s been so helpful, too,” Purcell later added. “I call him weekly before games. He’s still in the game right now as an NFL agent, so I get to talk to him so often about defenses and a ton of different things that are happening. Most importantly I think for him he’s taught me how to be a leader of a team.”

Purcell – also a basketball and baseball player – became immersed in the quarterback position from a young age, back when he was involved with flag football in second grade. 

And, as his career unfolded, beginning in tackle football in eighth grade and then competing at Sacred Heart Prep, Purcell’s production and talent at the position only strengthened. 

Purcell noticed his sophomore year that things were different. He saw his accuracy, football IQ and leadership could lift him to the next level. 

“I think I’ve done those things since my sophomore year, and I’m feeling really good with where I’m at right now,” Purcell said.

Once Purcell turned into the varsity starting quarterback as a junior, he immediately made headwaves in the Bay Area.

The final numbers read 1,480 passing yards while completing 66% of his passes, 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions, leading an offense that averaged 28.9 points en route to Sacred Heart Prep going 8-4 and advancing to the Central Coast Section Division II semifinals before falling in 21-11 fashion to Los Gatos, the eventual section champion.

That’s only part of where Purcell has excelled, though, writing out his goals and doing everything he can to achieve them, as he maintains a 3.9 GPA in addition to his athletic success.

“I think hard work and determination,” Purcell said. “Those two things I think together are you can’t really beat it in all walks of life, and I think if you maintain a positive mindset for sure and then with hard work and determination towards your goals I think beat everything. And I think for me I’ve set those goals.”

But there is more Purcell is reaching for.

Far more.

He’s seen Sacred Heart Prep come so close to a section crown. He’s seen them beat some of the premier programs out of the West Catholic Athletic League. He’s seen Sacred Heart Prep make deep runs, just like it did in 2019. 

Now he wants to get the program back to the top and winning a CCS title for the first time since 2015.

“I want to be the quarterback that leads the team to the CCS championship,” Purcell said. “I want to be a quarterback that goes and plays in college. All of these different things that I see as a younger player motivate me every day to get better as a player and just keep working hard to become the best that I can be.”

This offseason, Purcell is on a mission to make that happen. 

There’s been added speed. There’s been 20-25 pounds added to his frame. He’s making more athletic throws. His release is shorter. His accuracy is even better after completing 66% of his passes a year ago – all of which he’s done by working out two or three times per day on top of finding new hobbies or being involved in more things, like finding an interest in finance, being a Door Dasher, baby sitting or running a camp.

“I’m making different kinds of throws that I really didn’t feel like I could make last year, so the offseason has been instrumental to my success in my career, and I really just want the opportunity to showcase that,” Purcell said.

While no schools have offered Purcell, he’s just waiting on an opportunity to play at the next level, saying he’s looking at multiple spots to go in as a preferred walk-on and hopefully earn a scholarship later.

All Purcell wants is a chance, and all he wants is to walk out of Sacred Heart Prep with a perfect final high school season. 

“Both of those things would mean everything,” Purcell said. “For the last two years those have been the two things that I’ve just been striving for every day is to win with my team and to also to go on for a little more personal goal and become a college quarterback. I think both of those things, me and my family have been so focused on it. 

“It would mean the world to me, and I know it would mean the world to them as well. They’ve worked so hard to help me and help me become the best I can be, so it would mean everything to me to just do everything I set out for myself as well as making them proud at doing everything they want for me as well.”

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