Schuckman: Rock-solid foundation for success helps Hynek and son experience magical run
CHILLICOTHE, Ill. — All Cory Hynek could do was laugh.
In the days leading up to Wednesday’s Class 1A Chillicothe Sectional championship against defending state champion Quincy Notre Dame, the Peoria Christian boys soccer coach was approached by teachers within the school asking why the players had rocks on their desks.
“I knew our guys were pretty locked in and just believing they could do this when I heard that,” Hynek said. “That belief is huge.”
Hynek, a Quincy High School graduate now in his 17th season coaching at Peoria Christian, walked his team over to a gravel part of the parking lot near their field on Monday and told each of the Chargers to pick up a rock.
“I told them, ‘David only needed one to knock down Goliath,’” Hynek said. “(The Raiders) are the defending champs. There are four stars on their chest. You better believe they aren’t going to lie down. You have to believe you can take them down.”
Thus, the rocks were evident everywhere the Chargers went.
“They listened, they bought in and they believed,” Hynek said.
They took down Goliath, too.
The Chargers won their fifth sectional championship during Hynek’s tenure, beating the Raiders 5-2 at Chillicothe IVC High School. Peoria Christian (22-4-2) will face Johnsburg at 11 a.m. Saturday in the super-sectional back on IVC’s turf field.
This was the fifth sectional championship of Hynek’s tenure and first since 2015. He led the Chargers to back-to-back final four appearances in 2009 and 2010, finishing fourth and second, respectively, in Class 1A, but this postseason run feels different because he’s not experiencing it alone.
His son is by his side.
Quinton Hynek is a junior midfielder with NCAA Division I soccer aspirations who became the program’s career leader in assists earlier this postseason. He’s seen the Chargers make postseason runs throughout his life — there’s video of him riding his dad’s shoulders during a sendoff to state in 2010 — but this time he’s making it happen.
“He’s been on the sideline with us,” Cory Hynek said. “He’s never been on the field. To get (a sectional title) with him, it’s pretty awesome.”
It shows the growth of this group.
A year ago, Peoria Christian lost 4-0 to Mendota in the sectional semifinals. This year, the Chargers scored nine goals combined in their two sectional games.
“Instead of freshmen and sophomores, they’re juniors and seniors,” said Hynek, who has won more than 250 games during his coaching career. “They said we don’t want to just be there anymore.”
For a coach who grew up around the game — Hynek’s father, Roger, and brother, John, have been long-time soccer officials in the Quincy area — another state tournament berth and shot at a championship would be meaningful.
Doing so alongside his son would be magical.
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