SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Edwin Allen High will today seek to become the first team to defend the ISSA Ben Francis KO in six years, while Glenmuir High will be seeking a record-equalling seventh hold when they meet in the final at the St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex this afternoon, set to start at 2:15 pm.
Edwin Allen, who became the fourth first-time team to win the title in the last five seasons when they lifted the cup last season, are seeking to become the fourth school to win back-to-back titles.
Cornwall College have won it seven times, Glenmuir High have done it twice, while St Elizabeth Technical won six consecutive times between 2010 and 2015.
Neither team has allowed a goal in the knockout competition and have booked their spots in the final after wins in Wednesday's semi-finals at the same venue; Edwin Allen beat former champions Rusea's High 3-0 in one game, while Glenmuir High got by first-time semi-finalists York Castle High 2-0 in their game.
Glenmuir High have played one more game in the competition than Edwin Allen as they entered the first round, in which they beat Paul Bogle High 2-0, then got by Frome Technical 4-0.
Edwin Allen, who got a bye in the first round as they were still playing in the daCosta Cup, had beaten Garvey Maceo High 2-0.
There will be some familiarity between the teams today, Edwin Allen knocked Glenmuir High out of the daCosta Cup competition when they won 2-0 in the round of 16 to edge Glenmuir High on goal difference, and both were in the same first-round group last season.
Both coaches know, however, that nothing that happened before today is history, and will have very little to do with today's clash for all the marbles.
"Every season is different," Tafari Burton, the Edwin Allen coach, told the Jamaica Observer on Friday. "This team is also different and the only constant is the coaching staff, and that says our philosophy is working."
His team, he says, are "looking forward" to today's game and "the school is happy, the community is happy, and we are ready".
Despite getting the better of Glenmuir High in their last two meetings, Burton said they expected to see a team ready to take the title, "Glenmuir is well coached and a very tactical team," but added that every team has a weak spot.
Andrew Peart, the Glenmuir High coach, said the goal is to go after the daCosta Cup.
"It is good to be playing for a cup after not being in a final for so long, and we plan to compete and the plan is to deliver the title."
He admitted the "familiarity" between the teams and echoed Burton when he said they hoped they will be able to exploit the weaknesses that they saw in the Edwin Allen team.