When you think of boys soccer dynasties in the city of Naperville, the recent five year run from the Huskies of Naperville North is probably the team that comes to mind. And for good reason, with their back to back to back state championships from 2016 through the 2018 season.
But for our latest vintage moment, we take a look back to the earlier days of last decade and the Redhawks of Naperville Central, who came so close to achieving their own three-peat.
Heading to the 2011 season, Naperville Sports Weekly was entering Season Five and the Redhawks had not qualified for state in boys soccer since 1988. But second year head coach Troy Adams and the three seeded Central boys pulled off upsets over Batavia and Naperville North to win the sectional, before shutting out Quincy in the super sectional to earn their first state berth in 21 years.
The Redhawks then won a 4-3 thrilling over Fremd in the semi finals to make the state championship against Morton. The Cinderella run came to an end in heartbreaking fashion, as Morton won the 2011 title 1-0 in overtime.
In 2012, Central made it back-to-back state trips. Led by All State forward Pat Flynn, who scored 30 goals and had 10 assists that season, the Redhawks went 22-1 heading into the championship game. But unfortunately more overtime heartbreak awaited the red and white. After a thrilling final minute led to Naperville Central tying Warren Township with just 15 seconds left in the game. Once again the Redhawks fell in overtime by a 2-1 score and brought home the state runner up trophy.
Despite the graduation of Flynn, Naperville Central made it back to state for a third consecutive season in 2013. The Redhawks also got some revenge over Morton with a 2-0 victory in the super sectional to punch their state ticket once again. However in the semi finals, this time it was eventual state champion Edwardsville who dashed the championship hoped of this Central group. At least this time it wasn’t in overtime. The Redhawks did end the year on a high note, with a 2-1 win over Lake Park in the third place game.
So there you have it, the three-peat that came oh so close to coming home to Naperville Central. But it was an incredible vintage run for the Redhawks nonetheless during seasons five, six and seven of Naperville Sports Weekly.