Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), which has won the Ben Francis Cup for the past two instalments, will bow into action this afternoon in the rural area schoolboy football knockout competition at home in Santa Cruz against the very dangerous Kemps Hill High School of Clarendon.
The 3 p.m. start will no doubt bring about the expected throng of supporters for this clash, with the visitors primed to inflict a surprise result if they can overcome the Omar Wedderburn-coached STETHS, who have only dropped points once at home this year in a thrilling 1-1 draw with Munro College on Saturday, October 5.
Cracking the STETHS defence though is easier said than done. They have conceded a miserly four goals to date, while being rampant against their opponents, scoring 49 goals to lead all schools in that department. Their top marksman, Khesanio Hall, has accounted for almost half the tally with 22 strikes.
Kemps Hill and their coach, Dwight Smith, know, however, that anything can happen in a one-off game such as today's quarter-final, but they will have to plan carefully how to stop the fleet-footed striker from scoring.
That is the main task because given their defensive record, if he manages to score, it will be highly probable for Kemps Hill to mount a comeback.
This Kemps Hill team also has quality, as shown in their first round game against defending daCosta Cup champions Glenmuir High, who they stopped 1-0. STETHS will also need to be vigilant in order to move into the semis.
Elsewhere, the fairytale run for Green Pond High looks likely to continue when they tackle Godfrey Stewart High at Jarrett Park. They enter today's encounter as favourites, after their 4-1 demolition job on William Knibb in midweek, the same evening that Godfrey Stewart got the better of Rusea's 3-2 on penalties.
"This team has been playing very good football and we see no reason to stop now. Godfrey Stewart has just another hurdle to get over and we are confident we can do just that," said Gregory Daley, Green Pond's coach.
It is no secret that the entire school believes this Ben Francis Cup represents their first real opportunity to lift a schoolboy football title, as Principal Michael Ellis revealed.
"We are expecting to win the Ben Francis Cup. It's a honest assessment of the players' ability to do extraordinary things this year," he told The Gleaner.
In other matchups, Manchester High could give Clarendon College their sternest test so far, when they clash at Kirvine Sports Club, while Paul Bogle take on St Mary Technical in the other game of the day, at either Dinthill or Highgate.
Manchester vs Clarendon College at Kirkvine
St Mary Tech vs Paul Bogle at Highgate/Dinthill
STETHS vs Kemps Hill at STETHS
All matches start at 3 p.m.