“Our focus is to always win championships but the only way to win championships is to win one game at a time,” said Mississippi Dynasty owner Mike Lloyd when asked if his squad is ready for a three-peat. “The players and coaches are striving week-in and week- out to get better, never settle, or live off of past accomplishments.”
The Dynasty, ranked No. 1 in the Developmental Football USA preseason rankings for the Amateur to Professional Developmental Football league, have won two championships in a row and they just may be favorites to win it all again this season in the APDFL. Case in point, not only are they No. 1 in the APDFL, but they are also the top team in Developmental Football USA’s recently released regional rankings — checking in as the No. 1 overall team in the Southeast Region.
Lloyd, for all he has to boast about, was humble when predicting any future success for his team, though. He mentioned that the Mississippi Dynasty organization is built on respect for their opponents, so he didn’t just want to come out and say that a repeat was in the books. Still, the Dynasty are, pun intended, a dynasty for a reason.
“Our eyes are always on the prize. So like our slogan says, ‘Practice to win, Play to dominate.’ Now it’s time to put the second part into action,” Lloyd said.
Being a repeat champion in any league is tough. That goes for high school football all the way up to the NFL. It’s tough to stay “geared up” and focused through two consecutive championship runs — let alone three — but Lloyd believes his players have had the right stuff upstairs. It comes down to mindset, and the Dynasty have boasted players who are determined and strive for not just one, but multiple titles.
It’s not like the Dynasty have been perfect, either. Both of their championship runs featured losses, but more impressively major winning streaks following a loss. Again, for Lloyd and the Dynasty, it comes back to mindset.
“It’s just like winning back to back. You never settle for anything less than to be perfect,” he explained. “But for a team to show you just because you suit up and put a uniform on it doesn’t guarantee you a win… we all need wake up calls on the field. That’s for coaches and players.”
There may be a handful of potential wake up calls facing the Dynasty this season. Of course, the Crescent City Kings, currently ranked No. 2 in the Southeast Region and No. 2 in the league, per DFUSA, are going to be another tough opponent for the Dynasty. The Kings handed Mississippi their only lost last season, and they are certainly a
contender in a stacked APDFL again. Lloyd is also keeping an eye on the South Alabama Dolphins, ranked No. 10 in the APDFL pre-season rankings, and the Gulf Coast Gators, ranked No. 3 in the APDFL and No. 4 overall in the Southeast Region.
“Those are three teams on our side and on our schedule that we need to be aware of,” Lloyd explained.
Ultimately, success for the Dynasty comes down to the players on the field, and once again, this is a team that is loaded.
It all starts with three-time MVP LeSteven Jackson, who plays all over the field for the Dynasty. It’s also wise to expect a big year from Jay Hicks at running back, especially considering the offensive line in front of him.
“You can almost close your eyes and pick off the offensive line,” Lloyd said when asked about offensive players to know heading into 2019. “All those guys are good offensive leaders. What makes them all good leaders is all the off season hard work they put in weekend after weekend to make sure we stay on top. They also push the new recruits
and old players that we have.”
Defensively, the Dynasty are lead by O’keefe Henderson, a player the owner spoke extremely highly of.
“He’s a coach on and off the field, a very respectable man and a big voice for the defense,” he said.
Sam Washington and Louis Ellis will play a big role for the Dynasty up the middle, and look for Amos Tatum to shine, despite being a non-conventional leader, per his owner.
“People may take his personality the wrong way but at the end of the day he wants to win. He wants his teammates to do well,” Lloyd explained of Tatum. “He’s more of a ‘doer’ than an instructor.”
The Dynasty kick off their 2019 season and second-consecutive championship defense against the No. 4 ranked Alabama Blackhawks (No. 11 regionally) on Saturday, March 2nd.