The Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)-FLOW Manning Cup second-round kicks off today with a double-header at the Constant Spring Complex.In the first game, Excelsior High face-off against Jonathan Grant High at 1 p.m., to be followed by Holy Trinity High against Camperdown High at 3 p.m.The four teams are drawn in Group H and the battle for the semi-finals begin, so they will look to get off to a winning start.Excelsior High wear the favourites tag in the group as they have been impressive in all competitions this year.Coming off a big 5-0 win against Ocho Rios High in the ISSA-FLOW Super Cup last Friday at Sabina Park, the Mountain View Avenue-based institution must be on a high for this game.Excelsior also won their preliminary-round group ahead of many-time champions St George’s College. With that kind of form, Jonathan Grant could be in for a torrid time.WINNING STARTExcelsior’s coach Shavar Thomas has been guiding the team since summer and will look to players such as captain Christopher Thorpe, Cadine Graham, Thorne Buchanan, Ryan Spence and Raewin Senior for a winning start in the group today.However, Jonathan Grant, after finishing second behind Haile Selassie High in Group D in the first round, will certainly come to stop Excelsior.The Jonathan Grant team, which is coached by Oneil Thomas, who was a key striker for Excelsior when they won the Manning Cup in 1980, will look to key players Tahj Beckford, Jermaine Shorter, Delroy Grant and Issac Scott to create an upset.In the feature game, Holy Trinity are favoured to get the better of Camperdown. Holy Trinity were eliminated from the FLOW Super Cup by St Elizabeth Technical High School last Saturday and will be looking to rebound.Camperdown have not been impressive, despite finishing second in their preliminary-round group behind Wolmer’s Boys’, so they will have to work hard to get a positive result.Today’s gamesGroup HConstant Spring Complex1 p.m. – Excelsior High vs Jonathan Grant High3 p.m. – Holy Trinity High vs Camperdown High
Palmdale is 11-0-3 after its elimination on penalty kicks in last week’s Hart of Newhall tournament semifinals. It was the second time this season the Falcons lost a tournament semifinal on penalty kicks. No surprise: Palmdale’s impressive start wasn’t anticipated from the team that finished near the bottom of last year’s Golden League standings, but the Falcons aren’t among the surprised. “I met them over the summer,” said Cline, a first-year coach. “I thought we’d do just fine. I saw they could play, and they’ve really picked up on things.” Many of Palmdale’s players spent the summer playing in an indoor soccer league, winning the title. They are hoping for another title during the high school season after failing to qualify for playoffs last year. Hart breaker: Quartz Hill (4-2-4) showed it is capable of playing with the best, upsetting Hart 3-2 in the Hart tournament quarterfinals. The loss was only the second of the season for the Indians (11-2-0), who were among the tournament title favorites. Although its high-scoring attack gets most of the attention, the Palmdale High boys’ soccer team credits its defense for its success. The Falcons enter today’s Golden League opener against Lancaster with eight shutouts, and they posted six in a row at one point. “Not singling anyone out, the defense all together has been doing really well,” Falcons coach Jarrod Cline said. “The defense is really good. We’ve been scoring a lot, but the defense gives the forwards and midfield more chances to get the attack going.” Center midfielders Brandon Afaro and Carlos Aguilar are have been pivotal, contributing offensively and defensively. Forward Jose Garay is the leading scorer, with 19 goals. Just as notable, Quartz Hill shut down Hart scoring machine Matt Valaika, who has 25 goals in 13 games and had combined for seven goals in two games the day before facing the Rebels. Quartz Hill was eliminated in the semifinals by Hart’s Foothill League rival Saugus. Highland riding high: Of six Golden League teams that began league play Wednesday, Highland was the only winner. The visiting Bulldogs dominated Antelope Valley 6-0. Highland senior forward Robby Gonzalaez scored three goals, and teammate Sharif Khatib provided two goals and two assists. The Bulldogs (6-4-1) could use some of that offense again tonight when they have a big game at Quartz Hill. The Rebels are coming off a scoreless tie against defending league champion Littlerock. In Wednesday’s other opener, Lancaster and Knight tied 1-1. Heather Gripp, (818) 713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!