CRYSTAL LAKE — For a little guy, Jake Hynek delivers big plays for Hinsdale South’s playoff football team.
Hynek recovered a blocked punt and his fourth-quarter interception led to a Hornets’ touchdown as Hinsdale South cruised Friday night to a 38-15 victory at Crystal Lake Central in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.
The 10th-seeded Hornets (8-2) picked up their first playoff win since 2005 and fourth-year coach Mike Barry earned his first playoff victory at the school behind a dominating defensive performance. Hinsdale South entered the playoffs allowing 13.5 points per game and the Hornets nearly kept the seventh-seeded Tigers (7-3) under that mark until a late touchdown with 1:00 remaining.
Hinsdale South will host Marmion or DeKalb in the second round of the playoffs.
At 5-10, 165-pounds, Hynek is the smallest of Hinsdale South’s five linebackers, which includes 5-10, 171-pound Anderson and 6-0, 235-pound Dubose. Hynek and Dubose are two of four captains on the team.
Hynek’s older brother, Zach, who played for Barry three years ago, was a starting linebacker and captain.
Barry said he has found many similarities between the Hynek brothers.
“They both play linebacker; they are both extremely outgoing; and they are both fun to be around,” Barry said. “Also they are both great guys.”
Hynek believes in the Hornets’ coaches.
“The other day I told Coach Barry, ‘Thank you for turning the program around,’ ” Hynek said.
Hynek and his best friend, senior Erik Anderson, set the defensive tone in the first quarter when Anderson blocked the punt by Michael Chen at the Tigers’ 35 with 1:13 to go. Anderson got his hand on the ball and Hynek was nearby to smother it at the Tigers’ 25.
“We’ve been trying that all year long,” Hynek said. “That was our first one of the season. I knew we would get one today.”
Anderson and Hynek go back to their grade-school days. Hynek started football in first grade, then convinced Anderson’s mother, Lisa, to let her son go out for the Downers Grove Panthers in third grade.
“I wouldn’t be playing football without Jake,” Anderson said. “It was me and him in third grade. He was the one who gave me the push [to play].”
Senior quarterback Rob Regan (13 carries, 119 yards) scored four TDs for Hinsdale South on runs of 80, 9, 4 and 5 yards.
Hynek’s interception and 10-yard return set up Regan’s fourth TD run with 5:48 left that ended a three-play drive. That score gave the Hornets a 31-7 lead.
Hinsdale South scored its most points in the postseason since a 48-28 victory over Bradley-Bourbonnais in 2005.
Barry lost his only other playoff appearance with Hinsdale South, to Oak Forest 29-0 in the 2012 Class 6A opener.