In the world of developmental football, there are few leagues that can compete with the Gridiron Developmental Football League, or GDFL. One of the top teams in that league is the Crescent City Kings out of New Orleans (La.). Despite their limited history, they are already a team that is drawing praise and attention on a much bigger scale.
“This will be our third season,” Kings’ Vice Chairman Devin Richardson told DFUSA. “We started the team in 2013, but didn’t hit the field until 2014. Our head coach is Frederick Washington. He played in GDFL before coming to us. During our first season we finished 5-5. It was disappointing, but we learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work. Then last season we finished 9-2, but lost in the national championship game to the Nashville Storm.”
Although they were disappointed with the finish, the Kings and their loyal followers know that big things are on the horizon and there is reason for optimism.
“We’re known for our speed,” Richardson said. “We have a very, very good defense. I would say it is closing in on being the best in the league. We play a hybrid defense so we can flex from a 4-3 front to a 3-4 front where we use a standup rush end look. Offensively we’ve had a different identity every year because we have had different offensive coordinators both seasons. Even so, we always seem to be a 60 percent to 40 percent run to pass ratio team. We do a lot of spread, but we also go double tight.”
With one of the top rosters in the GDFL, it was difficult, but the Kings Vice Chairman was able to identify a few that fans should pay extra attention to.
“We have Melvin Davis,” Richardson said. “That’s our electric guy. He’s a big play waiting to happen. We have Eben Barra, 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, returning at wide receiver and he had six touchdowns last year. We have Warren Matthews, he’s a tight end, he had seven touchdowns last year. We have our starting running back Derek Williams, 5-foot-11, 210 pounds, returning and who’s also our all-time leading rusher.”
Typically when talking about players to watch on offense, you hear the quarterback. That didn’t happen here for good reason. Their quarterback Jahmad Goff, who had been the unquestioned leader of the offense and was undefeated as the team’s starting quarterback, recently signed with the Indijia Indians of the European First Division, headquartered out of Serbia. This leaves the Kings with a large hole to fill, but the talent on the roster is impressive enough that they may not have an issue attracting a new one.
“Defensively we have some really special players. We have a safety/linebacker hybrid in 6-foot-1, 185-pound Lamont Simmons, cornerback Corey Kennedy, 6-foot-4, 310-pound defensive tackle Tris Stevens, and maybe one of the top defensive players in the nation in defensive end/linebacker Shaun Jones. He has a combination of size and speed you rarely see at this level. At 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds he’s running probably in the 4.6-second range in the 40. He did a 4-second flat in the four-cone drill, which puts him up in the running back or wide receiver range. He’s virtually unblockable coming off the edge.”
Despite their early success in one of the most competitive leagues in the country, that’s not enough for the Kings.
“This year we expect to finish the deal,” Richardson stated emphatically. “Last year we made it to the national championship game, played it on our home field, and lost 31-28. We were in position to score, but we stalled. We’re looking to bring home the trophy this year. It all starts May 21st against the Fort Worth Wranglers. We know we will have some tough games throughout the year, but it’s one game at a time. Ones we are circling on the calendar though are the Oklahoma Thunder who we defeated in the conference championship game 21-18, the Memphis Blast, and the Marvel City Tigers. We beat Marvel City three times last year and they were all one-score games.”
With a national championship loss sitting in the back of their minds, the rest of the GDFL better be on alert because the Kings are looking to finish the job.