Cedar Grove Academy Head Coach Nicholas Wilson says that it will take some time before his team can be competitive in the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Digicel Manning Cup. This was after their 7-0 defeat to last season's beaten finalists St Andrew Technical High (STATHS) at the Boys' Town playfield on Tuesday.
In the 90 minutes of play, Cedar Grove spent most of the match in their own half and only managed one shot on target, which came in the 85th minute after conceding seven times.
Wilson says that preparation for the season hasn't been ideal but isn't overreacting after losing all four games and sitting bottom of the group.
"We've had a lot of off-the-field issues as it relates to some of the boys not being able to play, which made our squad thinner than it's supposed to be," Wilson said. "Many of these boys are playing football for the first time so it's a work in progress with our school's programme."
Cedar Grove won three games for the first time in the school's history last season, finishing fourth with 12 points in a competitive group behind eventual winners Jamaica College, St Catherine, and St Jago.
However, Wilson says an all-round effort will be needed if they are to ever make it out of a group stage.
"It's for the school, myself, and my staff to just get the boys in a little earlier, having them play football a lot more frequently, get them into some clubs," he said. "But again, many of my boys are youngsters; my goalkeeper is 13 years old!
"It's a bit difficult, we're new to the programme and it's now taking the youngsters from grade seven and eight to try to build them for this Manning Cup experience because, in truth, some of these boys won't be here next year and I'll need those grade sevens and eights to pull some weight next year. The programme is building, it's something we're looking forward to and to take it day by day."
STATHS Head Coach Philip Williams has played down his team's title favourites tag despite winning their fourth straight match.
"It's not something we wear or try to accept, [although] others and pundits might say that," he said. "We look at it as a team that has been doing the best with the limited resources that we have. I've been here since 2017 so the tag that is being attached is a combination of the hard work that we have been doing and the evidence that the programme is maturing."
STATHS remain top of Group D on 12 points, the same as Excelsior, but with a superior goal difference.
STATHS 7, Cedar Grove 0
Bridgeport 0, Excelsior 2
Tarrant 0, Clan Carthy 1
St Mary's College 0, Holy Trinity 7
Penwood vs Camperdown - No game (Penwood arrived late, match officials had already left)
Cumberland 0, Spanish Town 2
Wednesday's Games (all games start at 3:30 pm except Charlie Smith vs KC)
Charlie Smith vs Kingston College @ Calabar (1:30 pm)
Calabar vs Hydel @ Calabar
Jamaica College vs Kingston Technical @ JC
Jose Marti vs St George's College @ Jose Marti
Ascott vs Wolmer's @ Ferdie Neita Park
Vauxhall vs St Jago @ Vauxhall
Mona High vs Edith Dalton @ Mona High
Tivoli vs Meadowbrook @ Tivoli High
Eltham vs Haile Selassie @ Eltham
Innswood vs Norman Manley @ Chedwin Park
Ardenne vs Campion College @ Ardenne
Donald Quarrie vs Papine @ Harbour View Mini Stadium
Pembroke Hall vs Waterford
Dunoon vs Denham Town
Greater Portmore vs Jonathan Grant