After a Week 1 loss last season to the previous President’s Cup winner, the Mississippi Dynasty flew under the radar for a little while, but not long. The Dynasty proceeded to string together 11 consecutive wins and a league championship in one of the toughest leagues in the country.
Now overlooked by no one, the Dynasty is predicted to do it again as the Amateur to Professional Developmental Football League’s Pre-Season No. 1 team, but they will get their opponent’s best shot every single week.
“We’re going to circle all 10 of them,” Dynasty head coach Mike Lloyd told Developmental Football USA. “We did win the championship last year and I know my players and I expect nothing but the best from every team we play.
“Even if a team is 1-8 and we play them Week 10 and they have no shot at the playoffs, they are going to bring the best that they have, so we have to make sure we get that win. We have to be locked in and focused and ready to play football.”
With some hyped organizations joining the league and other existing powers loading up their roster during the off-season, the Dynasty will have their work cut out for them. While they are definitely equipped to get the job done, they know that nothing in this league is handed to them.
“I wouldn’t say repeat or bust,” Lloyd said. “That wouldn’t be fair to the players. Players come out to play hard each and every week and the other team lines up to win too. We have to play hard each and every game. If we get back to the championship and win it all, we’ll be grateful and if we don’t, it’ll be a learning experience that comes with the territory. If you can’t win them all, you can surely try.”
While not wanting to put the cart before the horse, the pieces are certainly in place for a repeat.
“We have a strong returning team and we have some new additions to add,” Lloyd said. “I think we’re going to have a good chance to get back to the championship.”
2017 League MVP LeSteven Jackson returns on offense to lead the Dynasty.
“We are leaning on the decision making of Jackson and our offensive line,” Lloyd said. “Our offensive line was big for us last year. We were able to pretty much run the ball against teams and we had great pass protection from the line, led by center Michael Gatewood and great guard play by Rodrick Gladney.”
This year, the Dynasty will be without President’s Cup MVP Jabari Baker and they will look for 6-foot-1, 245-pound linebacker-made-running back Jadarius Hicks to make up the production there.
Defensively, it starts on the line for the Dynasty as they’ll look to last year’s sack leader Roy Williams, Louis Ellis and Keland Johnson to lead the charge.
“Those guys led us right to the championship with solo sacks and tackles for losses last year,” Lloyd said.
“Him being 35 years old, he’s play a lot of football,” Lloyd said. “He has the experience to help the guys play together. I think we’re going to be pretty good on the defensive side.”
While there’s no doubt the Dynasty will be very good again in 2018, they’ll also be lining up against several teams that could be very good as well.
“The Arkansas Hawks are a new team with veteran leadership,” Lloyd said. “That can put us in a tough situation to play them. They will be strong as well as the Crescent City Kings coming from the Gridiron Developmental Football League. They will be a contender. The Lightning played us tough last year and they will be ready again.
“The Gulf Coast Gators have a good core of players and Prattville, they are on the American side, but we do play them. I think they will pretty much handle their side. If we can make it back to the championship, I think they’ll be there waiting for us, if we can make it back to that game.”