Newcomers Aim to Keep Eagles Flying High

Two years removed from an appearance in the SPC 4A championship game, Episcopal School of Dallas is not ready to start over.

Sure, many faces will be new this fall for the Eagles, especially on offense, but the expectations will be as high as ever.

“The culture has been fairly consistent, and it’s really strong with this group. They expect to compete for a championship once again,” said ESD head coach Richard Williams. “The guys that we’re returning are completely bought in. The learning curve will be short and quick.”

Many starters from ESD’s high-powered offense have graduated, including standout quarterback Patrick Burke, who led the Eagles in passing and rushing last year.

The candidates to replace him are Johnny Willingham, the backup in 2022, or Frisco Memorial transfer Jake Gierkey. Willingham is more of a pocket passer, while Gierkey is a dual threat. Both could see action early in the season, Williams said.

Three-year starter Collin Nicholson will play multiple positions on both sides of scrimmage. Other two-way returnees include Nick Wheeler and Jackson Pennington.

Hutch Chipman will take over as the starter at tight end, while transfer Dario Benaglia will be a lanky target at receiver.

Meanwhile, experience will be more plentiful on the ESD defense, with eight starters back. Owen Bellson and Landen Capetillo will anchor the line.

“Our depth is probably stronger than it has been in previous years,” Williams said. “We have a lot of other talented guys who can spell them when we need to.”

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