Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
Cory Hylton is a player on a mission to push his team Lennon High to their first lien on the coveted ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel daCosta Cup rural area football title.
The sturdily built Hylton is the son of former daCosta Cup standout, the late Radcliffe 'Gizmo' Hylton, who played on Garvey Maceo's well-talked-about 1984 team which included players like Marvin Chin (goalkeeper), Paul 'Chinna Man' Aquart, Merrick Morrison, Patrick 'Blacka' Dobbs and Warren Simpson. The team was coached by Lebert Halliman and made it to the semi-finals of the competition that year.
"I didn't get the chance to see my father play because he died when I was very young. People tell me that he was a very good player, very skilful and worked hard in the midfield," said the young Hylton.
The youngster is from Western Park, May Pen, where he grew up right beside the West Park playing field, a place where he spent countless hours honing his football skills from a young age.
He attended May Pen Primary, then Denbigh High where he shone at the junior level, before stamping his class playing in the daCosta Cup competition.
"I just grew up loving football. A lot of talented footballers come from my area, I used to watch them and I always wanted to be as good as them," he pointed out.
A former captain at Denbigh High, Hylton transferred to sixth form at Lennon this school year and has taken on a leadership role as the captain at the school based in Mocho, Clarendon.
Nicknamed 'Yaya' by his teammates due to his football skills being compared to those of Manchester City's midfielder Yaya Toure, he is seen by many as a player fit for the future of Jamaica's football.
CAPABLE OF POSING THREAT
In a rescheduled game against former champions Clarendon College at Brancourt on Monday, both teams played well while ending in a nil-all draw. Lennon, however, looked more the part indeed, being a team that can pose a real threat for the title.
Lennon came closest to winning their first championship in 2010, when they were thought to have been handed a raw deal after going down 1-0 to Rusea's in the final through a goal that was handled by a Rusea's player.
Coach Merron Gordon has put that disappointment behind him and thinks he has the ammunition to go all the way this season.
"It is a quality team, well organised. I think these guys take coaching," Gordon said. "Some of the players are coming from the 2010 team so we are hoping they get it right at the right time."
WORKING ON CONFIDENCE
Commenting on his captain, Hylton, he said, "To me, he is one of the best midfielders his age in the country. I think self-belief is his problem. I just got him four months now, so I will be working on that."
Gordon added: "He reminds me so much of Ewan Grandison (Portmore United midfielder now in the national setup), only that Grandison came right up through the ranks at Lennon. He (Hylton) is certainly one for the future."
However, the task at hand for the youngster is getting some silverware for Lennon High, which in the opinion of many football pundits, is the team from Clarendon that can take the trophy back to the parish.
"I played on some good teams at Denbigh, but we never managed to really reach far in the competition," Hylton said. "At Lennon I am just focused on helping the team to win the cup, I know we have the potential to do it. I also want to finish my schoolboy career on a high by winning a championship."