Every game in the Amateur to Professional Developmental Football League has the potential to be a dogfight and that consistently high level of competition makes every game important. On Saturday, the Mid-State Vikings game versus the Tallahassee Panthers is perhaps the biggest one yet for both teams, as each first-year team is still searching for their first win.
“It’s vital in the sense that it would help the psyche of the team,” Panthers owner Charles McCurdy told Developmental Football USA. “In a literal sense, it would move us from life support to critical condition.”
The Vikings, which came within a touchdown in losses to solid teams in the Greater Pensacola Jets and the Louisiana Lightning, took about five steps backwards last weekend in a 60-0 blowout at the hands of the Alabama Blackhawks. For Mid-State, this is a chance to get their head back above water and the perfect scenario to do just that.
“A win is very vital,” Vikings owner Charlie Morgan told Developmental Football USA. “Coming off a horrible one-sided loss at the hands of the Blackhawks and being favored for the first time all year, this is a must win.”
Both of these new programs knew what they were signing up for when they entered their team into one of the toughest leagues in the country right off the bat, but there’s still plenty of time this season to turn things around.
The Panthers lost a close one to start off their season, 2-0 against the South Carolina Mustangs, then followed it in Week 2 with a 34-6 loss to the Georgia Cobras and a Week 3 35-6 loss to the Gulf Coast Gators.
“I’ve been in the league before and played against some very tough teams,” McCurdy said. “I also have, more or less, kept up with the Cobras’ progress through their seasons. That was also a good barometer, having knowledge of their core roster. I’ll say no, this isn’t what we expected, because we sit 0-3 and I did not imagine that.”
On the other hand, the Vikings knew things wouldn’t come easy in Year 1, but they’ve been very competitive in two of their three losses.
“The level of competition is what we thought it would be,” Morgan said. “We feel like we haven’t played our best game or even a complete one for that matter.”
If we were to try to predict the future based on the past, we at Developmental Football USA would give the nod to the visiting team, the Vikings, but in our time covering the APDFL, we know that anything can happen.
“We have to show up prepared to play Vikings style football,” Morgan said. “This is huge for the Vikings to be favored to get our first win ever. We’ve got to trust the process. As a coaching staff, we must continue to put our players in position to be great despite the situation.”
However, at a level with its share of attrition to overcome and ducks that must be put in a row, the home team should never be counted out.
“It would be special because it would be our first win for the organization,” McCurdy said. “I think that would be huge to any organization. There are clearly no easy wins in this league. The key to victory is to be relentless the whole game.
“I have to do a better job of leadership. I’ve got to get guys to buy in and we must be resolute.”