Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:All eyes will be on the defending Ben Francis knockout champions St Elizabeth Technical, when they battle Kemps Hill in quarter-final action in Santa Cruz today.
It will be one of four matches at this stage of the competition, with the others being William Knibb versus Grange Hill at Jarrett Park, St Mary Technical versus Paul Bogle at the Highgate Community Centre, while Manchester High battle Clarendon College at Kirkvine Sports Club.
STETHS and Kemps Hill are both very confident going into their encounter.
Omar Wedderburne, coach of STETHS, has been singing the same tune all season long, that his players are in it to win it. He said that his plan is simple, to take the game to Kemps Hill and secure the win to take them to the semi-final round.
"I have been saying this from the start of the competition, that we want to defend our title. Beating a strong Kemps Hill side will be tough but we have what it takes to win," reasoned coach Wedderburne.
STETHS, who demolished Black River 8-0 in their final zonal fixture to advance ahead of Munro, received a bye into the quarter-final stage but Kemps Hill had it all to do in their 2-1 victory over the much-touted Garvey Maceo.
It is the first time in the school's history that Kemps Hill have made the Ben Francis Cup, but the historic occasion is not lost on Wedderburne, who said that will give his opponents energy.
"They won a difficult zone to qualify for the knockout competition so they will be energised to be going up against STETHS; I think it will be a great game," said Wedderburne.
Meanwhile, Dwight Smith, the man in charge at Kemps Hill, also predicts a tough battle.
"My players have been doing well all season, so it goes to reason that we will compete well against STETHS. The players are not afraid of this STETHS team in any way, although coach Wedderburne and I are good friends.
"It comes down to who wants it more, and at this stage I believe it is Kemps Hill's time to shine," said Smith.
He said Tarique Thomas (five goals), who netted the brace in his team's triumph over Garvey Maceo last week, and Romaine Richards (four goals), both of whom lead the team scoring chart, are exciting players and they are once again expected to produce the goals.
"These are two good young players who have been strong for us this year. But in all truthfulness, our entire midfield has been doing well. We are getting goals from all over, which is a good sign, especially with STETHS in our path towards making the final," said Smith.