Like several of the nation’s top developmental football teams, the Augusta Ducks spent the weekend in Daytona Beach, Fla., competing the In the United States Football Association’s National Bowl Weekend, operated by National Football Events.
The Ducks were one of the few that will go home with hardware as they knocked off the Massachusetts State Wolverines 30-6 in the Tangerine Bowl to come away with the USFA AA National Championship Trophy.
The game started out slow and remained scoreless until the Wolverines connected on a blown coverage on a deep ball to set themselves up inside the red zone, where they got into the end zone on the next play. The Ducks stopped the two-point attempt and the Wolverines led 6-0, but it was all Ducks from that point on.
“We came out the second half and they couldn’t stop it,” August Ducks owner Chris Bradley told Developmental Football USA. “We ran it down their throat basically the whole game. After the third it was 16-6, and then we scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win 30-6.”
Augusta quarterback Brad Johnson got the Ducks on the board in the second quarter on a 4-yard quarterback sneak. After a successful two-point attempt, the Ducks led 8-6 and took that lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, running back Gary Rogers took a halfback dive up the middle 28 yards for another score to extend the Ducks’ lead 16-6.
In the fourth quarter, Reggie Grubbs broke up the middle for a 35-yard score and Kaqune Platts scored again for the Ducks on a 40-yard run.
“Gary Rogers and Reggie Grubbs are huge assets to our team,” Bradley said. “Gary is like a power back like Eddie Lacy or Jerome Bettis and Reggie is like our scat back. They’re hard to keep up with, with both of them playing at two different speeds.”
After allowing the first score of the game, the Ducks defense held it down as the offense scored 30 unanswered points. Baylon Stone had three interceptions for the defense, while cornerback Martinez Gallman shut down the other side.
“He’s a shutdown corner,” Bradley said. “He’s been that way all year so I want to give him the props he deserves. You can’t throw anything his way, he’s pretty much a Deion Sanders in our league.”
The secondary wasn’t solely responsible for the turnovers, as the Ducks line, which was solid all game, has quite a reputation in the Southeast Region.
“Our whole defensive front four was great,” Bradley said. “We’ve got a guy named Justin Stabler that’s a linebacker also. The Brinkley twins used to play in the NFL, Casper and Jasper. Our other d-tackle, Chris Caldwell and William Colbreath. The league calls our defensive front the four-headed horseman. Henderson Ware is big for us too.”
The Ducks lost in the conference championship of the Deep South Football League, but still earned an invite to National Bowl Weekend by knocking off the Gwinnett Patriots and the North Carolina Raiders, two other top teams in the Southeast Region. The Ducks were without some of their key players from the regular season, who have had opportunities at the next level.
“We had a receiver leave this year going to play for the Arizona Rattlers and our running back just went to Kennesaw State in Atlanta,” Bradley said. “Justin Mims working on a contract with Winnipeg of the Canadian Football League.”
The Ducks open regular season play the first weekend of March against the Electric City Chargers of Anderson County, S.C. The DSFL has recently merged with the National Developmental Football League, Bradley said.
“In our league, we’re ranked number one,” Bradley said. “Our team doesn’t care about rankings, but they voted us to go all of the way this year.”