Atlanta, GA - While the Amateur to Professional Developmental Football League officially kicked off during last weekend’s Commissioner’s Classic doubleheader, for the majority of teams, Week 1 begins Saturday. Any game in this league has the potential to get interesting, but a few big-time match-ups this weekend are circled on the league lineup, one of which is the No. 2 Prattville Patriots versus the No. 5 Augusta Ducks.
“We’ve got plenty of guys that have played in big-game atmospheres, so this is just another day at the office,” Patriots co-owner Nick Fletcher told Developmental Football USA. “I will say the guys are drooling at the opportunity to properly welcome the Ducks to the APDFL.”
Last weekend, the Ducks got out to a 24-0 lead over the Alabama Blackhawks, but the Blackhawks rallied back for 32 unanswered points and the win. However, a review by the league determined a ruled violation by Alabama, which resulted in the Ducks getting the win.
“With a 63-man roster, we traveled with only 29 last week,” Ducks owner Chris Bradley told Developmental Football USA. “We were missing our starting quarterback, two of our starting linebackers and all five of our defensive backs. Still no excuse of not playing the full 60 minutes, but we had a lot of guys play in spots that they normally don’t play in, so the normal guys will step up against the Patriots.”
Regardless of the league ruling, last weekend’s outcome caused many eyebrows to be raised around the league at the Ducks, who were considered a potential darkhorse championship contender by some. Needless to say, Prattville isn’t changing their approach one bit.
“I honestly think a few players not traveling to the game was key in the Ducks first game upset, he weather also played a factor,” Fletcher said. “I do think there’s a talent difference in the APDFL compared to many other leagues. The Ducks found that out on Saturday night. Our team treats this as a business trip. No reason to get overhyped. They understand this is a one-game season. We take it one game at a time.”
For Augusta, they’re looking to regain any respect that might have been squandered away last weekend and prove they are a legitimate threat and one of the league’s better teams.
“I think we will start out on fire because everyone is expecting us to lay down,” Bradley said. “We are already fired up. We just got embarrassed on TV for the whole league to see. This is a statement game like last year versus the South Carolina Bulls, if not bigger.”
Since the league schedule was released a few months ago, this match-up has been anticipated by everyone and is expected to be one of the Top 10 or probably even Top 5 match-ups of the regular season.
“It’s big because we are playing a name brand team in this league,” Bradley said. “They think they will run over us because of how sloppy we played last week.” For the Patriots, who recently went on the record saying this season is “championship or bust,” this is just Step 1 in a long list of 2018 goals.
“This game is just one step closer to the ultimate goal,” Fletcher said. “It will be a nice victory, but at the end of the day, it’s just one game and it happens to be against the Ducks.”
Ducks keys to the game: “It starts in the trenches. Defensively, we have to get pressure because our DBs will get tried play after play.” Patriots keys to the game: “Protect the ball and play solid defense. These guys are ready to be unleashed on someone other than their teammates.”