'We're in it to win it' - Rusea's hunt first title in post-Williams-Henry era
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
It would not be silly of anyone to bank on Rusea's High School lifting the 2014 ISSA daCosta Cup trophy, even though they have a new but seasoned coach in Aaron Lawrence, directing the charge towards what would be a 10th hold on the Cup - symbol of rural schoolboy football supremacy.
"It wouldn't and shouldn't be that hard for our fans to expect a trophy form us this year. It's my first time in charge of Rusea's, but we have a certain quality about the squad, and like everyone else, we are in it to win it," said a confident Lawrence.
The Lucea-based school boasts one of the most successful records in the competition, winning their first title back in 1984, the last coming in 2011. They also have in their account four Ben Francis KO titles and the All-Island Olivier Shield on five occasions - sharing the latter title twice, with Kingston College in 1985 and 1990 with Charlie Smith.
At that time, they were at their apex, with Emerson 'Diggy' Henry and Anthony 'Follies' Williams in charge.
Times have changed, with Williams giving way to the ambitious former Reggae Boy goalkeeper. Lawrence, though, believes the foundation has been laid for him to succeed.
"It can never be promised that we will win any trophy this year, but we are expected to do well and to go as far as we can. The sky is the limit and we dare dream to reach that limit. That may be this year and it may well be in two years," he said.
"Picking up a school like Rusea's, leading their football programme is never an easy task. There will always be pressure to succeed as Henry and Williams have done so much for this school."
He added that his squad is a mixed bag of experienced and youth, but singled out national Under-17 players Tavan Barnes and Deshaughn Beckford as solid players on which his team can rely in leading them to their first post-Williams/Henry-era trophy.
Lawrence also had fair success at The Manning's School, taking them to the quarter-finals and semi-finals in the last two seasons.
"I had a good time of it while at Manning's, and looking back, I can safely say we did extremely well given what we had to work with. I left with no regrets, but was happy to have made a worthwhile contribution.
"Now it's onto a new challenge with Rusea's, and I am looking forward to the season and hope that the players we have can do a great job in line with what is expected of a school such as this," added Lawrence.
Rusea's have been drawn in Zone B and will face their perennial rivals Frome Technical, the ever, improving Green Island High, and Merlene Ottey for a place in the new look inter-zone round.