SOUTH EGYPTIAN CONFERENCE
Bobcats preparing for fight in SEC
Appleknockers, Falcons, Pharaohs set to test Meridian for the top spot
BY JACK BULLOCK
For the championship of the South Egyptian Conference all roads lead to, and through, Mounds Meridian.

With the exception of the 2016-17 season which saw the Bobcats upset on the road by Elverado, Meridian has owned the SEC.

The Bobcats had won 66 consecutive league contests before that loss.

That defeat forced a three-way deadlock with Meridian, Cobden and Elverado all ending up 7-1.

Last season this club got back to business, running the table again with an 8-0 mark.

For those keeping score, they have had one conference loss since December of 2009.

The Bobcats will have a new head coach with Jared Staple coming back to his Alma mater.

Staple was a starting guard at Meridian during the 2003-04 season, a campaign that saw him win the IHSA slam dunk title in March of that year.

He inherits the reigns from Erik Griffith, who left the program.

The Bobcats were upset on their home floor by eventual supersectional champion and fourth place 1A team Goreville in the Meridian Regional title contest.

Four starters and a lot of points have left the Meridian squad from a year ago and Staple has work to do to keep this program at a top level it has always been at.

Cobden also has a new head coach in place as Wendell Wheeler, a successful head coach at Du Quoin, Newton and Patoka previously, heads down to run the Appleknockers' program that has some talent returning from a pretty good 2017-18 team (16-13, 6-2).

Elverado has been on a nice regular season run under third year head coach Jacob Emling.

The Falcons ended up 18-12 overall, 6-2 in the league.

Head coach Allen Pearman has done a pretty good job at Egyptian, as the Pharaohs ended up also at 6-2 in the SEC to go with a 17-14 mark overall.

The Pharaohs lost their top scorer but return three starters from a team that won a regional game last year.

The revolving door at Century continues to spin as they have a new head coach in Mark Zahm; the third coach in as many seasons for the Centurions.

Joppa head coach Ken Harris led the Rangers to a 8-18 mark last winter.

Dongola has Kevin Cox back coaching after a one-year hiatus as he was an assistant a year ago.

Shawnee has Russ Marsh back for another season running the Redskins' program.

Neither Dongola or Shawnee had much success last season.

Shawnee was 1-17 while Dongola ended up 2-24.

Agape Christian is part of the SEC but not part of the IHSA as a full member, so they can't compete in any IHSA sanctioned tournaments, including the state finals.

But the Knights do compete in the league and head coach Tim Weaver does a pretty good job with this small school program.

The ABV projection has Cobden as the main challenger to Meridian's stranglehold on the SEC championship while Elverado also in the race.

For complete team-by-team previews, click on the team links below.

ABV Projected Order Of Finish