Kemps Hill hunt another scalp in Ben Francis KO
SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — New comers Kemps Hill High will hope to continue their giant killing act when they travel to Santa Cruz to take on two-time defending champions St Elizabeth Technical High (STETHS) in the quarter-finals of the ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel Ben Francis Knock Out football competition today.
Kemps Hill, who won their zone for the first time ever and advanced to the Knock Out competition, eliminated former champions and high riding Garvey Maceo High in Wednesday's first round and will hope their luck will continue this afternoon, as they seek a place in the semi-finals.
Four games are down to be contested that will decide Wednesday's semi-finalists. William Knibb Memorial and Grange Hill, who were upset winners on Wednesday, will clash at Jarrett Park; Manchester High and Clarendon College will meet at Kirkvine, while St Mary Technical and Paul Bogle High will meet at Highgate Community Centre. All games begin at 3:00 pm.
At the St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex, Kemps Hill, who had to wait until the final day of the regular season to claim a place in the Ben Francis KO from the competitive Zone N, will face the toughest opponents of the season so far.
STETHS, winners of the last two Ben Francis KO titles and who drew a bye in the first round, are one of the most prolific scoring teams in the daCosta Cup competition with 38 goals, second only to Paul Bogle High's 48 goals and will be led by Kehsario Hall, who has scored 15 times so far.
Dwight Smith, the coach of Kemps Hill, says his team is not easily intimidated, however, and after getting by Garvey Maceo, believes they can win anywhere.
"I am liking what I am seeing in the camp," he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday. "There is a new level of confidence that I am seeing for the first time since the win over Garvey Maceo."
He said playing at STETHS was not an issue as "we play our best football away from home and this will not be a big deal".
Going up against STETHS, one of the top schoolboy football programmes would not daunt them, he said. "We had a taste of this STETHS team last year in the pre-season and drew with them and that gave the boys confidence and the knowledge they can't allow names to scare them, they just have to go out and play football."
The game at Kirkvine should be interesting as Manchester High just got by Spalding in sudden death penalty kicks on Wednesday and face a Clarendon College team that had to work hard to get rid of minnows Cedric Titus at Brancourt.
At Highgate, Paul Bogle High, who are led by national Under-20 player Alvas Powell who has scored 21 goals so far, take on a confident St Mary Technical team that dispatched a good Dinthill Technical team on Wednesday.
St Mary Technical could have some defensive issues after allowing 12 goals in their 10 games played and Paul Bogle could exploit this.
A competitive and close game is expected at Jarrett Park where William Knibb, who came from behind to eliminate Cornwall College in penalty kicks, and dark horses Grange Hill will come face to face.
Grange Hill have allowed just one goal all season and held a potent Frome Technical 0-0 through 110 minutes of regulation and extra time on Wednesday before outscoring them in sudden death penalty kicks.
What William Knibb lack in talent they make up for in discipline and this game could go past regulation time to decide a winner.
William Knibb vs Grange Hill at Jarrett Park
Manchester High vs Clarendon College at Kirkvine
St Mary Tech vs Paul Bogle High at Highgate Community Centre
STETHS vs Kemps Hill at STETHS