While last year’s Amateur to Professional Developmental Football League Champions, the Mississippi Dynasty, and a team that spent the majority of the season ranked No. 1 in the Prattville Patriots are considered by almost everyone as the Top 2 teams in the league for 2018, a few prestigious newcomers are looking to come in and shake everything up.
One of these teams is the Crescent City Kings out of New Orleans, La., which came over to the league from the Gridiron Developmental Football League.
“Why we came from the GDFL to the APDFL really came down to geographic location of teams,” Kings head coach Frederick Washington told Developmental Football USA. “That, and a lot of teams in the APDFL are some rivals of ours, so we will have a chance to compete with some of those guys. We’re excited to be in the league, we’ve heard a lot of great things about it.”
The Kings, which were a GDFL Finalist in 2015, are ranked No. 6 in the APDFL Pre-Season Polls. With their deep roster and their experienced history of playing a high level of competition week to week, don’t be surprised to see them shake up the rankings this year.
“Every year our goal and aspiration is just like everyone else and that’s to win the national championship and a league championship,” Washington said. “Everything else is basically us not reaching our goal and that is our goal.
Reaching that goal will mean knocking off some of the top developmental teams in the county and several scrappy state powers that are capable of stealing a win on any given Saturday.
“Based on my observation the past couple of years, I’d say the Mississippi Dynasty and Prattville Patriots are No. 1 and No. 2, as far as everybody having the bullseye on their back,” Washington said. “As far as teams in our area that might be a rivalry for us, we’ve got the Bayou Vipers, the Louisiana Tigers, the Louisiana Lightning as well as the Pensacola Jets and really, the Dynasty, are just up the road in Jackson. I think that slate gives us a good opportunity for competition and bragging rights for our state and for this region.”
Defense has traditionally been a strength for the Kings and 2018 should be no different, so Washington will look to get more out of his offense and the pieces are definitely in place for that to happen.
“On offense, we have a strong quarterback core, a good one-two punch with Jahmad Goff Jyron Walters, who played for the Lightning last year. He was in contention for league MVP last year as starting quarterback for the Louisiana Lightning. We have a good two-headed attack with those guys.”
Look for both quarterbacks to stretch the field with top wideouts to throw to in Kenneth Dabney and Adrian Williams and to feed the stable of running backs, led by Levjahua Marcell.
Defensively, the Kings bring over a unit that was ranked Top 2 in the GDFL for the past four years and is led by defensive ends Shaun Jones and Josh Keelen and defensive back Keywan Bullock.
“They are hard workers and their skill level is extremely high,” Washington said. “They are dedicated to the task at hand. They are good players, their ability is good enough to play for money, in my eyes, based on what I’ve seen the past three years.”
In their successful history, the Kings have seen several players do just that – use the developmental level as a platform to move into a professional contract at the indoor level or overseas.
“We have sent three gentlemen overseas,” Washington said. “One of them is Mr. Goff, which he just returned and we sent two receivers and two linemen to play arena football.”
Like most teams at this level that have lasted for more than just one or two seasons, giving back to the community is something essential, which the Kings also emphasize.
“I inspire a lot of my players to volunteer and mentor young kids at playgrounds,” Washington said. “We also mentor young kids at the facility we play at. We’re big on mentoring and giving back to the community.”