The Crescent City Kings are a six-year-old franchise with a 39-15 overall record. They’ve reached the playoffs four out of five years in contention and have played in two conference championships and one championship. That’s all good. Great, in fact. According to offensive coordinator Devin Richardson, though, it’s not just winning that makes the Kings great.
“The greatest highlight for us is having contributed, in a small way, to the guys who have had opportunities beyond our level,” he told Developmental Football USA.
Heading into their second season in the Amateur to Professional Developmental Football League, there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to the Kings — ranked No. 2 overall in the league. Unfortunately, they’re coming off a 2018 season that saw them blow a 10-point lead with less than five minutes remaining in the playoffs. That was undoubtedly tough, but Richardson believes the team will take a similar approach in 2019 and will focus on peaking at the right time.
“We have never put a lot of stock in rankings. Coming in at No. 2 behind the defending champs just puts a target on us and we have to meet those challenges,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent in this league, so to be thought of in that light is appreciated. I’m sure there are a least two or three other teams equally qualified to hold our position.”
The high ranking for the Kings is reflective of their high level of talent, and that’s also considering the fact that they’ll get two offensive stars back in 2019 who missed significant time because of injury last season: Wideout Kenneth Dabney, who has been with the team since 2016, and running back Andre Randolph, who was an APDFL all-star before he injured his hand in 2018.
“Dabney has the ability to beat man coverage and find space between zones, he can be a game-breaker with the ball in his hands,” Richardson said. “Randolph can fill all the roles in the backfield. He has a smooth running style and great hands out of the backfield.”
“With both guys back in the lineup, we expect to be explosive offensively.”
On defense, the Kings are looking for three players, specifically, to make a huge splash in 2019: Safeties Roy Reimoneng, Michael Blakes, and Jeffery Robinson. They bring size, speed and depth to Crescent City’s secondary and join Jeffery Hampton, Keywan Bullock, and Howard Jones to form what Richardson says could be the “most complete defensive backfield in Crescent City Kings history.”
The Kings are certainly a contender in the APDFL but it’s not going to be an easy road. The Mississippi Dynasty are the cream of the crop — ranked No. 1 in the league — but the Gulf Coast Gators (No. 3), Alabama Blackhawks (No. 4), Tuskegee Ayrmen (No. 6) and South Alabama Dolphins (No. 10) are all teams that Richardson considers to be major players in the league this season.
“We are also keeping an eye on the East Alabama Predators,” he said. “They were extremely formidable in our previous league.”
Richardson relayed that the Kings do their best not to circle on game or the other, but it is, of course, human nature. With that in mind Crescent City is looking forward to a match-up with the No. 5 Georgia Kings, a team they don’t know much about, and the game against the No. 1 ranked Dynasty will obviously be a big one — especially since last season’s game hinged on a few technicalities.
There’s also a pretty big match-up against the Louisiana Lightning (No. 11), if only because of the proximity between the two teams.
“We pull from the same talent pool, we play in the same stadium and many players have suited up for both teams,” Richardson explained. “We have only faced each other twice but both games have been tough contests. We expect the same this year and in the foreseeable future.”
As far as the APDFL as a whole is concerned, the Kings are impressed with the overall professionalism of the league — a league run by commissioner Bernard Hunt.
“That doesn’t mean everything is perfect, but it doesn’t need to be,” Richardson said. “The APDFL challenges owners to grow and we appreciate that challenge. Every year the focus is on how we can get better and that’s the type of league we want to be a part of. We will always align ourselves with a league that best fits our goals as an organization, and the APDFL does that.”
“We are proud members.”
The APDFL is easily one of the top leagues in the developmental ranks, which makes the Kings one of the top developmental teams in the country. That doesn’t mean the Kings are content, though. In fact, Richardson was clear that team knows that growth is a key. They also have a common goal in mind.
“We have been close to a championship but the trophy has eluded us. Everyone in our organization is focused on the President’s Cup,” he said.