Just so everybody is clear on what's about to happen, let us spell it out for you.
Cabot is going to win the AAAAA-East Conference title.
No, no sharing allowed. Cabot did that last season and it simply wasn't rewarding enough. The Panthers want it all this time.
History tells us so.
Cabot, in the last six seasons, is 40-2 in AAAAA-East Conference action. That's four 7-0 records and a pair of 6-1s. Last year, the Panthers traveled up to West Memphis and were beaten, 28-20, to force a tie for the conference championship. The only other conference loss suffered by Cabot in the past six years was a 27-7 thumping at the hands of Sylvan Hills, at Cabot, in 1999.
So, you ask, how can anybody be sure that Cabot is going to win it again?
When Cabot lost its first league in 22 outings back in 1999, the Panthers turned around in 2000 and won the Class AAAAA state title. Coach Mike Malham's team was so Dead-T set on winning it all that the Panthers roared through three AAAAA-West Conference opponents to do it.
Now, West Memphis has gone and made Cabot mad again. The Blue Devils will pay their own penance with a trip to Central Arkansas the first week of October.
The rest of the league will be so caught up in trying to make the playoffs that Cabot and West Memphis will slip through the gauntlet without too many lasting impressions.
Jacksonville gets the nod for third place in the league, but has to make a trip to Searcy – which also benefits from a home game with up-and-coming Forrest City.
Rich's Power System is still going with Jacksonville and Jonesboro to come out of a three-way logjam to claim the final two playoffs spots. Searcy, which along with Fayetteville might have been the best team in the state not to play a postseason game in 2002, is shunned by the tie-breaker system.
Here's how RPS sees the AAAAA-Central race stacking up:
1. Cabot 7-0
2. West Memphis 6-1
3. Jacksonville 4-3
4. Jonesboro 4-3
5. Searcy 4-3
6. Forrest City 2-5
7. Blytheville 1-6
8. Mountain Home 0-7