As far as high-profile indoor football teams are concerned, the Capital City Reapers are on the up-and-up. In their inaugural season representing Richmond and the state of Virginia, the Reapers went undefeated and won the Mid-Atlantic Indoor Football League.
“I decided that indoor football needed a face here in the city in Richmond and these guys in the state of Virginia needed a platform to showcase their talent,” owner and head coach Reggie Shipp told Developmental Football USA. “I wanted to give these guys an opportunity to develop in the indoor game because I know a lot of talent is here in the state.”
From the get-go, the Reapers came out on fire. They made a name for themselves in a huge way in Week 1 by coming away with a 102-0 win. Their week two contest went into overtime, but the Reapers found a way to come out on top and from there on out, according got Shipp, Capital City benefited from some smooth sailing.
It takes a lot of hard work to put together an undefeated, championship season in Year 1 of an organization, but Capital City proved it’s possible. It comes down to organization and leadership both on the field and off the field, and per Shipp, there were quite a few players who stood out for the Reapers.
The one-two punch in the offensive backfield of quarterback Jamal Street and running back Mike Holmes kept the Reapers dangerous all season. Street, who Shipp referred to as the team’s general, put up a combined 44 touchdowns on the season, hurting defenses with both his arm and his feet. He only threw five interceptions as well, so overall, he was extremely efficient. That’s not surprising from a player who once earned a scholarship to play football at Georgia Tech.
Holmes, a former Virginia Tech Hokie, did much more than just run for the Reapers, but he still went on to rush for 12 touchdowns.
“He was pretty much a scoring machine and his blocking ability was impeccable all season long,” the head coach relayed.
Defensively, Shipp had a hard time pointing out just one standout player, though defensive end Mikey Carter was hailed as the definitive defensive MVP of the team after racking up 18 tackles and 17 sacks. He also notched eight sacks in the championship game.
“My entire defense as a whole had a great year and only gave up 68 points all season,” Shipp said.
After an excellent inaugural season that saw the Reapers win it all, Capital City is hoping to take its brand to the professional level next season. Shipp isn’t sure where the organization will be playing just yet, but he said the club is weighing its options and several leagues are in play. That list includes the National Arena League, and Shipp is hoping his squad will be able to replicate the success that clubs like the Columbus Lions and Lehigh Valley Steelhawks have had.
“We want to follow in the footsteps of those guys because everybody knows their brand,” he said. “We’re going pro next year and we’re going to maintain our developmental team.”
The plan is for the developmental team to feed the pro team, according to Shipp, so don’t expect the Reapers to leave the MAIFL. They’ll likely just expand and move the professional side of the organization to one of the bigger professional leagues.
As a brand, though, the Reapers aren’t going anywhere.
We’re still going to maintain the Reapers brand because it has become recognizable nationwide,” Shipp said. “I just want to continue every bit of success, not just [for] my players but [for] my staff around me. I’ve had a great group of coaches around me.”