The Amateur to Professional Developmental Football League features many exciting match-ups every weekend and Saturday, April 7, is no different as the top team from Louisiana – The Crescent City Kings – takes on one of the top teams from Alabama in the Mobile Generals.
The Kings come in undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the APDFL, while the Generals come in with one loss, ranked No. 6.
“Every game is big and every game is important,” Generals owner Jerome James told Developmental Football USA. “The No. 2 ranking is not important to us. We are focusing on the 11 players across the ball from us. Every game is a playoff game for us.”
Mobile was ranked as high as No. 3 before their lone loss came in overtime earlier this season to the Gulf Coast Gators. Even then, their history, their roster, and their current body of work caused them to not drop very far in the rankings.
Certainly, Crescent City knows they have no room to overlook them.
“Playing any team ranked in the Top 10 is a big deal and we expect it to be challenging,” Kings head coach Frederick Washington told Developmental Football USA. “We don’t know much about the Generals, which presents its own challenges. We have heard great things about their organization and talent, so I expect to see the best the APDFL has to offer. As far as our toughest test – on paper, it seems that way. Only Saturday night can truly prove that. I expect Mobile to come to New Orleans and give us a battle.”
For many teams, this young 2018 APDFL season has been a wake-up call, while others have come in and made a statement. For the Generals and Kings, a title run is still in the picture and this weekend should prove to be a solid measuring stick to find out if one of these organizations is cut out to contend for The President’s Cup later this summer.
“The progress of my team is not where we should be,” James said. “We have not played a complete game yet. We are capable of a complete game, but for many reasons we have not played to half of our potential. I’m not satisfied with our progress at this point, but I am satisfied with the hard work the players have put in to correct a lot of things to make our game complete. You should see a much better and physical Mobile Generals this weekend.”
At this level, with players having to factor in work schedules and travel and owners dealing with a variety of attrition from seemingly all sides, the home team always seems to have more working in their favor on any given Saturday. Can the Generals go in to New Orleans and hand the Kings their first loss?
“The Kings are an established team, a very tough, physical opponent,” James said. They play physical and fast. They give you different looks almost every play. We have to be aggressive and play team ball and not worry about stats. I will need my special teams to show up this weekend for us to come home victorious.”
Expect the Kings to come in with a lot of energy and play their style of football at home. Can they defend successfully defend their home field for four quarters?
“I expect to meet a hard-nosed disciplined football team,” Washington said. “For us to win, we have to be able to match their physicality, stay disciplined and we can’t beat ourselves. Mobile will capitalize on our mistakes. Our secondary as a unit will have to step their game up because the Generals have a potent passing attack and one of the best receivers in the league. We have to limit them to win.”
While a win this weekend would be big for either program, it’s just one piece of the puzzle and one step to a much bigger picture.
“We are undefeated, so we take that for what it is, but the regular season doesn’t define us,” Washington said. “We haven’t reached our potential yet. Every practice, every film session and every day, we are trying to maximize our potential. We have shown growth, but we aren’t there yet.”