Hungrier than ever, Eagles primed for regular season

Senior kicker Jack Brady kicks an extra point against Kinkaid. This was one of many for Brady, as the Eagle offense scored five touchdowns on the night.
Senior kicker Jack Brady kicks an extra point against Kinkaid. This was one of many for Brady, as the Eagle offense scored five touchdowns on the night.

By Peter Scamardo
Eagle Staff

On a cool evening in late August, senior left

tackle and team captain Campbell Clarkson

watched as

his team scored five touchdowns against the

Kinkaid Falcons.


“I think there’s definitely room for

improvement but overall it was a great effort,”

Clarkson said. “We had a sound victory and

definitely proved ourselves on the field to be a force to be reckoned with.”

The Eagles ultimately won the football game by the score of 38-24, thanks to three rushing scores by

junior William Heck and two more from the arm of junior quarterback Michael Keating.

In 2013, Eagle football accomplished something that had not been achieved in decades: they finished

the regular season undefeated.

Lead by a powerful running game and an even stronger defense, the Eagles were primed to go deep

into the playoffs.

But it all came crashing down when the Eagles lost to the defending, and eventual, state champions

Fort Worth Nolan.

The loss was heartbreaking, not just for the coaches and players but for the fans as well.

“Going 10-0 and winning district is great but you have to judge your success by how you finish, not

how you start,” Head Football Coach Tim Fitzpatrick said, “and ultimately we didn’t reach that goal of

lifting a state championship at the end of the season.”

“Every time I think about it, it makes me sick to my stomach,” senior linebacker Jordan Lawrence

said. “We all just want to make it right and reverse the feeling.”

The St. Thomas football team graduated several seniors who made a huge impact to the team, some

would assume there is a huge void to fill.

Luckily, the classes whose responsibility it is to replace them have known nothing but success on the

football field.

They all came to the school hearing about all the negatives of playing for St. Thomas, how they had

not beaten Strake for over a decade, how they had not made the playoffs in several years.

But ever since these last few classes of juniors and seniors arrived, they have won nine or more games

at every level, they have beaten Jesuit every year, and at varsity have made the playoffs every year.

“These seniors are the first ones we coached in the morning so we’ve been with them right from the

start”, Fitzpatrick said “They’re real tough boys, they know what their expectations are and they’re

ready to play.”

The seniors that graduated are not guys that can easily be replaced, but the coaching staff is confident

the boys will step up and do their job.

“I think one of the things we have going for us with that senior group is they had a good rapport with

the younger guys that will be returning,” Athletic Director Mike Netzel said. “I think the guys learned

a lot from playing with them. We actually had a fairly young team minus those seniors, and we had a

lot of guys who were sophomores or juniors playing who saw significant time.”

A major factor the coaches wanted to fix though was the non-district schedule.

They felt the past schedule had not done a good enough job in terms of preparing the players for a run

in the playoffs.

Because of this, the schedule has been completely revamped, adding local schools Kinkaid and

Episcopal, as well as UIL 5A school Angleton and a trip to Toronto to play St. Michael’s College.

The only returning opponents are Santa Fe and the annual game versus Strake Jesuit.

“One of the advantages we felt the Dallas district had over ourselves is that their district is bigger so

they play a lot of rivalry games during the season.” Netzel said “We wanted to add a little bit more of

that element to the schedule, so we talked about it, and Coach Fitzpatrick took care of the rest, adding

schools like Kinkaid and Episcopal.

“Getting Episcopal back on our schedule is a good thing because they’re not only good teams, but

their great rivalry games for us, because it’s about local bragging rights. It’s going to be similar to a

playoff atmosphere in the type of team your playing. You know both teams have some guys that will

be playing in college just like we do, plus they’re just local guys. I mean all of our guys probably hang

out with most of these guys offseason and during the school year, so it’s going to be interesting to get

to look across the line at someone you know and still want to compete against them,” Netzel said.

Last Friday’s victory proved the Eagles have not missed a beat and are primed for success this season.

“We expect to win state and beat everyone who is in the way. That’s all we expect, and we work

towards it every day.” Lawrence said, “I don’t think about the team I just want to win. We don’t care

how big the team is; we all don’t care we’re just going to give them hell each week.”