JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Spring football is in full swing and the News4Jax sports team is making stops at high schools across the area in its annual Spring Swing tour.
It is a new era for the Episcopal Eagles high school football team.
With Mark Brunell moving on to the NFL after eight years, a 50-31 record and three playoff wins, this is head coach Marcus Wells’ first spring season leading the team. The Eagles will travel to Stanton in the spring-ending game on May 28 at 6 p.m.
Wells called Brunell’s timing for his jump to the NFL “impeccable.”
It has been much easier this spring for Wells to step in as head coach than it would have been just one year ago as the coronavirus pandemic made things unpredictable.
Last season, the Eagles finished the year 6-3 and lost in the third round of the playoffs to eventual state champion Trinity Christian.
Wells has been with the team for the last eight years and said he has seen a change in the expectation of Episcopal players the past few seasons.
Now, the young players come in knowing the expectation is to make the playoffs and compete.
“They all recognize for us to continue doing what we are doing they got to work,” he said.
The Eagles have embraced doing that work, with large groups of the team attending offseason workouts. Despite losing a talented group of seniors last year, the Eagles hope to make another run at the playoffs this year.
It is early in the 2021 spring football season, but Episcopal is already putting together a personality as a “gritty” team.
“We are tough and those are things that haven’t been said a lot about an Episcopal team in the past,” Wells said. " … We have a toughness about us.”
Episcopal 2021 schedule
Aug. 27, Episcopal at Tocoi Creek
Sept. 3, Ponte Vedra at Episcopal
Sept. 10, Englewood at Episcopal
Sept. 17, OFF
Sept. 24, Zarephath Academy
Oct. 1, Baldwin at Episcopal
Oct. 8, Episcopal at Middleburg
Oct. 15, Episcopal at Jackson
Oct. 22, Providence at Episcopal
Oct. 29, Episcopal at University Christian
Nov. 5, Bishop Kenny at Episcopal