It wasn't pretty, but after walking the sidelines for 60 years now, St. Edmond head coach Dick Tighe has come to understand one thing:
"A win is a win, regardless of what it looks like at the end," said Tighe, after his Gaels posted a 14-9 season-opening victory over Bishop Garrigan Friday night.
With temperatures in the 80s throughout the night, St. Edmond (1-0 overall) relied upon its veterans to pull out the win over the Golden Bears (0-1) in one of the most storied rivalries in Iowa.
This marked the 53rd meeting between the schools, dating all the way back to 1959. The Gaels now trail Garrigan all-time, 35-18, but have won seven straight.
"We each made some nice plays and put together some nice drives, but we both made several mistakes, as well," said Tighe, who improved his career record to 401-154-8. "But that's what happens in the early stages of the season.
"We have plenty of inexperience along both the offensive and defensive lines, and that showed (Friday night). We've got a long way to go, but we'll get there."
St. Edmond7 7 0 0- 14
Bishop Garrigan 0 3 0 6-9
St. Edmond - Vinnie Harvey (19-yard run), :8 left in first. Hank Crimmins kick.
St. Edmond - Harvey (4-yard run), 3:33 left in second. Crimmins kick.
Bishop Garrigan - Brayton Loss (27-yard field goal), :2 left in second.
Rushing - St. Edmond: Vinnie Harvey 24-125, Hank Crimmins 14-63, Michael Faiferlick 4-15, Matthew Bocken 3-3, Team 1-(minus-2). Bishop Garrigan: Connor Langerman 10-70, Brayton Loss 8-41, Ben Vaske 8-27, Reece Wadle 11-18, Zac Kibby 1-3, Team 3-(minus-27).
Passing - St. Edmond: Bocken 1-5-13-0. Bishop Garrigan: Wadle 7-10-92-1.
Receiving - St. Edmond: Landon Peed 1-13. Bishop Garrigan: Chris Loss 2-44, Kibby 2-23, B. Loss 2-19, Vaske 1-6.
Vinnie Harvey ran for 125 yards, scored both St. Edmond touchdowns and made two huge sacks on defense, while Landon Peed preserved the win with a game-ending interception deep inside Gael territory.
For the Golden Bears, Reece Wadle finished 7 of 10 for 92 yards, including a five-yard score. Brayton Loss also connected on a 27-yard field goal.
"We just ran out of opportunities," BGHS head coach Marty Wadle said. "It's early in the season and we didn't finish; we'll learn from this and get better."
Garrigan squandered a golden opportunity on the first drive of the game, marching towards the end zone before the St. Edmond defense stood tall and forced a missed field goal.
The Gaels took over and ran Harvey, Hank Crimmins and Michael Faiferlick 89 yards to the first points of the game, as Harvey powered his way to paydirt.
After a Golden Bear fumble in the second, Harvey scored again, this time from four yards out.
"We were really doing a lot of good things in the first half, but we were unable to get it going in the second," Tighe said. "Credit Garrigan, because they didn't give up and made a game of it."
St. Edmond failed on a fourth-down try and Bishop Garrigan took advantage, as Loss made it 14-3 at the half.
Wadle cut the lead to 14-9 with his TD run midway through the fourth, but two turnovers on their final drives ended the comeback hopes.
Caelan Burbank added a sack and Nick Hindt an interception for the Gael defense, while Jimmy Averill and Chad Remsburg each recovered a fumble.
St. Edmond hits the road next Friday for a meeting with Mason City Newman. The Golden Bears host North Union.