SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Three-time champions St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) will seek their fourth straight semi-finals place in the ISSA/LIME Ben Francis Knockout competition when they enter the fray this afternoon, taking on Kemps Hill High at the STETHS Sports Complex, in one of four quarter-final games scheduled to start at 3:00 pm.
STETHS, who drew a bye in Wednesday's first round, have won a record nine-straight Ben Francis Knockout games, dating back to the 2010 season, and will be involved in one of three games that are repeats of last season's quarter-finals.
Manchester High and Clarendon College will meet at Kirkvine in a repeat of last year's match-up, while Paul Bogle High and St Mary Technical face off at Highgate Community Centre for a semi-finals place for the second straight year.
In addition to STETHS beating then first-time Ben Francis KO qualifiers Kemps Hill to advance to the top-four, Manchester High also beat Clarendon College on penalty kicks, while Paul Bogle had the better of St Mary Technical.
Today, Paul Bogle High will be gunning for a fifth consecutive semi-final berth after making the finals four times -- 2009, 2010, 2011, and last year. Meanwhile, Manchester High, beaten finalists in 2011, will also be seeking a fourth straight.
In the other game at Jarrett Park, first-time Ben Francis KO qualifiers Green Pond High will seek to continue their high-flying ways when they take on a resurgent Godfrey Stewart High, who eliminated former champions Rusea's High on penalty kicks on Wednesday, after Green Pond had eliminated William Knibb.
In Santa Cruz, STETHS will be well rested after their high-powered romp through Zone E where they scored 49 goals, the most by any school in the daCosta Cup this season and, backed by their massive home support, will be hoping to end Kemps Hill's journey in the knockout competition.
Kemps Hill knocked out former champions and current daCosta cup holder Glenmuir High on Wednesday and, despite having to travel to STETHS for the second straight year, will be confident they can pull off an upset.
The game of the day could be at Kirkvine where Clarendon College, who are under the guidance of the wily Patrick 'Jackie' Walters, are hoping to turn back a solid Manchester High team and avenge last year's loss.
Both had contrasting first-round results, as Manchester High managed only a 1-0 win over Christiana High, Clarendon waltzed to a 6-2 manhandling of Marcus Garvey Technical.
With a semi-final place against the winner of the Green Pond vs Godfrey Stewart game in the offing, Manchester's vaunted defence could make the difference today.