It’s common for teams that have success in other leagues to experience a wake-up call after joining the Amateur to Professional Developmental Football League because of the gauntlet of tough teams week after week.
Now, the jury is still out on the mark the 2018 expansion teams will make, but through two weeks, some of them seem to be adjusting alright.
The Tuskegee Ayrmen, which won two Xtreme South Football League titles in 2014 and 2015 before coming over to the league, came into the season with plenty of hype and a Top 10 Pre-Season ranking, but a 16-12 Commissioner’s Classic loss to the P-Town Wreckaz knocked them down into the bottom half of the league rankings.
However, when the Wreckaz broke into the Top 5, it took some of the sting off Tuskegee’s four-point loss, which they followed with 14-7 Week 2 win over the Prattville Patriots – the league’s preseason No. 2 team. Now the Ayrmen are turning some heads in the south.
“The win was one of the biggest things in our area,” Ayrmen owner John Black told Developmental Football USA. “We’ve always been the underdog against this team because of the league we were in last year. People say that to be the best, you have to beat the best, and in my eyes they are the best in the area. With us accomplishing that, it’s a great load off my back.”
Quan Williams, Vashon Lander, Cherod Peebles, Jacory Smith, and Andrew Tate were all instrumental in the win over the Patriots, Black said. “My defense is the foundation of my team, “ Black said.
“Even though we have great All-Star players on offense, l have to give great props to my defensive coordinator Jason Foote for his accomplishment as being the top dog in this organization.”
Now, Tuskegee will look to add another tally to the win column and break above .500, but it won’t come easy. They will have to get through the Atlanta Venom, another expansion team with a history of pre-APDFL success.
“I’ve heard they are a pretty good team, well-balanced across the board and just overall a good organization,” Black said.
The Venom opened up the season coasting to a win over the Metro Eagles, but did not play last week. Time will tell, but that could prove to be a huge advantage for the Ayrmen, who have been battle tested with back-to-back big games.
“To win, we’ve got to come together and not give up and play hard-nosed football,” Black said.