Captain Clarke carries Central High to first D'Cup final
Central High Captain Dylane Clarke (Photo: Dwayne Richards)

HE strode confidently towards the goal area, picked up the ball and headed for the penalty spot. He kissed the ball twice and then placed it carefully on the spot, knowing the importance and significance of the moment.

Dylane Clarke, the captain of the Central High team, knew that he was twelve yards away from creating history for his school.

And as fate would have it Clarke, who scored the opening goal in the match which ended 1-1 at the end of regulation time, became the first player at the institution based in May Pen, Clarendon, to guide the school into the final of the ISSA/WATA DaCosta Cup.

His expertly taken penalty kick in sudden death was fired low into the corner of the goal, beyond the despairing dive of Shamar Commock, to give Central High a 5-4 win over Manchester High and set up a date in the final with many-time champions Clarendon College.

The scenes that followed spoke of the magnitude of the occasion as Clarke and his teammates celebrated wildly through the fence with their faithful supporters, who were in the stands, after they overcame the odds yet again to triumph in what continues to be a fairytale season for the school.

According to Clarke, that penalty kick in sudden death was not a pressure situation for him.

"It's a normal thing for me, it's easy 1-2-3. I'm a penalty taker so it wasn't any pressure to me."

Curiously however, Clarke was not one of the original five takers in the shoot-out. When quizzed about not being among the five, he explained the situation.

"I was feeling an ankle pain so they said to let him [Emory Ayton] go before you if you're feeling pain. So he missed, so I had to step up and finish the game."

Clarke is desperate to close out his schoolboy football career with silverware and has vowed to give it his all in the final.

"I'm very proud because it's my last year and I am willing to do everything to win that trophy."

Central High and Clarendon College have met once before this season, with the former champions edging that contest, but Clarke is confident of being able to revere the result this time around.

"It's a good matchup. The first match we played against them we lost one-love but surely this one we will take home the trophy this year," he declared.

He is certain of the impact that winning the title will have on the community of May Pen.

"It would mean a lot [to the school community]. To win it would be great. The first time the trophy would go to May Pen, it would mean a lot."

Central High will contest their first-ever DaCosta Cup final against Clarendon College at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) next week Saturday.

Dwayne Richards

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