When one thinks of boy soccer dynasties in the city of Naperville, the most recent five-year run of the Naperville North Huskies probably comes to mind. And for good reason, with their successive state championships from 2016 to the 2018 season.
But for our latest vintage moment, let’s take a look back at the early days of the last decade and the Naperville Central Redhawks who got so close to their own three-goal.
Heading for the 2011 season, Naperville Sports Weekly went into its fifth season and the Redhawks hadn’t qualified for the state in boys’ football since the 1988 section before knocking Quincy out of the super section to earn their first state berth in 21 years .
The Redhawks then won an exciting 4: 3 against Fremd in the semifinals and made the state championship against Morton. The Cinderella run ended in a heartbreaking way when Morton won the title 1-0 in extra time in 2011.
In 2012, Central made successive state trips. Led by All State striker Pat Flynn, who scored 30 goals and had 10 assists this season, the Redhawks went 22-1 into the championship game. Unfortunately, the red and whites were expecting even more overtime heartache. After an exciting final minute, Naperville Central led to Warren Township, which was only 15 seconds in the game. Again the Redhawks fell back 2-1 in extra time and won the country.
Despite graduating from Flynn, Naperville Central made it back to the state for the third consecutive year in 2013. The Redhawks also took revenge on Morton with a 2-0 victory in the super section to punch their state ticket again. In the semifinals, however, this time it was the later national champion Edwardsville who destroyed the championship hoped for by this central group. At least it wasn’t overtime this time. The Redhawks ended the year with a 2-1 win over Lake Park in the game for third place.
So there you have it, the three-pitt that came so close to returning to Naperville Central. But it was still an incredible vintage run for the Redhawks in seasons five, six, and seven of Naperville Sports Weekly.
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