Tafari Burton got the better of his high school Coach Vassell Reynolds and Manchester High in guiding his alma mater Edwin Allen High to their first-ever senior schoolboy football final with a comprehensive 4-0 win in the semi-finals of the ISSA/Ben Francis Cup on Tuesday.
Edwin Allen have been having a breakout season and, after failing to make the top four of the daCosta Cup, have continued to do well and will now participate in their first final when they come up against St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) in the rural area knock-out final on Friday.
Edwin Allen got off to the prefect start on Tuesday when their leading scorer Richard Henry, who bagged a brace in the match, poked home the first with just six minutes on the clock and for Burton that was the perfect way to begin the hunt for a spot in the finals.
“That was a part of the game plan because one of the things that we have been suffering from, from the start of the season, is starting slow.
“So, one of the things I told them is scoring early will boost their confidence and the intensity, will more than ever, just go higher.” said Burton.
Henry has been one of the top scorers in the rural area this season and despite scoring two against Manchester High, Burton still thinks that his opponents did a bang-up job against his “number 9”.
“I have to give credit to Coach Reynolds and the Manchester team because they did a great job against Richard. He is a potent player and not easy to mark, so I have to give credit to them,” said the Edwin Allen tactician.
Burton praised the attitude of his leading scorer who had to leave the game near the end due to cramps.
“Richard's intention is always getting to the goal, the intention that a forward should have.”
The third goal scored by Edwin Allen came from a free kick from Jahiem Harris and Burton was happy that they were able to convert from a set piece.
“All goals matter, all goals matter, just like black lives,” he joked.
The final will be a big moment in his coaching career for Burton, but he is promising not to get carried away or caught up in the moment.
“Going into the finals excited, but at the same time remaining humble and trying to be as focused as possible.
“It has to be a win. Our intention has to be to win. You can't have any other intention entering into a final, but we have to remain focused and humble.”
He is hoping to make the community of Frankfield, where Edwin Allen High is located, be a party town come this evening.
“It would be the greatest thing in the community of Frankfield because we have never won a trophy for football in that community. I know the people, seeing us reaching the final, I can imagine how everybody feels, so this is for them. We are going to try our best to let them feel happy,” Burton said.
STETHS edged a determined Frome Technical 1-0 in the second semi-final on Tuesday to advance to the final which will be played on their home ground on Friday starting at 12:30 pm.
— Dwayne Richards