The Denco Spades will work to defend their American Developmental Football League title from one year ago when their season kicks off on May 7.
In 2015, The Spades finished 10-1 and ADFL Champions before losing the state championship to the Colorado Greyhawks of the Colorado Football Conference 56-6.
“Our expectation this year is to defend our league title and hopefully get back to that and win that and make up for what we didn’t achieve last year and that’s win a state championship,” Spades owner Damion Sands told DFUSA. “We didn’t put our best showing in that game and everybody knows that. Our plan is to get back there and to prove to the state and everybody else that we belong there and to win it.”
The Spades look to make some adjustments offensively as 6-foot-3, 215-pound standout wide receiver Christopher Smith will now look to lead the team from behind center as the starting quarterback.
“He’s actually a better quarterback than he is a receiver,” Sands told DFUSA. “He’s coming back this year and he’s going to be our starting quarterback.”
Joining Smith in the backfield is former Washington Redskin and Troy Trojan, Maurice Greer. The 6-foot-, 220-pounder is expected to have a big year in the ADFL.
“He runs well, he does everything well,” Sands said. “There’s nothing that guy doesn’t do well.”
Maurice’s brother, 6-foot-3 ½, 220-pound wideout Travis Greer will provide another weapon on the outside for Smith.
“He’s a dominant receiver,” Sands said. “He’s a really good possession receiver. If it’s in his area, then he’s going to catch it.”
Defensively, the Spades expect another big year from 6-foot-3, 210-pound free safety Krod Turner, who led the team in interceptions one year ago.
“What he brings, his football IQ is just off the charts, his athletic ability, there’s nothing that gets passed the guy,” Sandsa said. “He’s always in the right position. He’s really active when coming up against the run and loves sticking his nose in the run. He’s a great all-around ball player. There’s nothing he doesn’t do well. On defense he’s the anchor. We’re allowed to do a lot of things because on the deep end, he has it covered we run a lot of blitzes and play really aggressively.”
Leading the linebacking corps is returning veteran middle linebacker, 6-foot-, 245-pound Richard Salva.
“He’s been around so long,” Sands said. “He brings that veteran leadership that the guys feed off of on defense. He’s a fiery guy and sticks his hat in there and makes plays all over the field. He’s always in the right position. He’s one of the anchors, he’s the leader of the defense, calls the plays and checks the coverages.”
Six-foot-2, 205-pound defensive end Tommie Allen returns to anchor the defensive line and wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
“He’s the league sack master,” Sands said. “He’s not a very heavy guy, but he has the biggest motor I’ve ever seen in a player, you can’t block the guy. I think he had around 25 sacks last season in 12 games. That’s just crazy. He’s a problem for any offense. Everyone we play against knows him and they have to account for him. It can be a 20-yard run to the other side and he’s the guy running them down from the other side, just an incredible.”
If the Spades plan to successfully defend their ADFL Championship, there a few teams in particular they’ll have to get through.
“The Grand Junction Gladiators,” Sands said. “They were the league champions three years in a row until we won this past year. They’re working to get back to that top spot. Then the Mile High Punishers, they were our biggest test last year in the league. The first game we won against them was on a last-second field goal, they were beating us by 28 points and we came back. The second game they lost in the playoffs, they fumbled the ball on the 2-yard line and we recovered it.”