ALGONA - Head coach Dick Tighe hopes Friday night's performance by his St. Edmond football team is a sign of things to come this season.
Making an impressive 2008 debut, the Gaels (1-0 overall) relied on a balanced offensive attack and ball-hawking defense to drop Bishop Garrigan 21-7 here yesterday evening.
''It's always great to win the first game,'' said Tighe. ''It was pretty tight most of the way, but we made a big play before the half, which turned out to be the difference.''
After both squads failed to score on their first drives of the contest, the Golden Bears (0-1) struck on their ensuing possession.
With 1:45 remaining in the quarter, quarterback Brett Capesius rolled to his right and connected with tailback Jack Bradley on a 12-yard touchown pass, giving Garrigan an early advantage.
Trailing 7-0 midway through the second, SEHS anwered with a two-yard scoring jaunt from senior Patrick Flattery. Kicker Bryan Huss added the extra point to even the score at 7-7.
Rushing - St. Edmond: Brian Sandvig 7-94, Patrick Flattery 17-60, Doug Steinkamp 13-40, Anthony Flattery 1-2, John Engler 2-(minus-2). Bishop Garrigan: Jack Bradley 14-70, Brett Capesius 10-54, David Reding 4-22, Ethan Gisch 8-14, Kevin Elbert 1-6, Jacob Behr 1-1.
Passing - St. Edmond: Engler 3-5-0-98. Bishop Garrigan: Capesius 4-8-2-55.
Receiving - St. Edmond: Joey Flattery 2-94, Sandvig 1-4. Bishop Garrigan: Bradley 3-42, Reding 1-13.
With the same tally late in the half, Garrigan would march deep into Gael territory. The momentum quickly shifted back to the green and white, though, Capesius was intercepted by Patrick Flattery, setting the stage for some last-minute SEHS fireworks.
On the very next play from scrimmage, senior signal-caller John Engler found wide receiver Joey Flattery streaking across the middle of the field for an 83-yard touchdown with 1:29 left and the Gaels took a 14-7 edge at the intermission.
''We didn't thing they'd be looking for a pass in that situation,'' said Tighe. ''We made sure that Joey split out, because they only had two men deep.''
Early in the third period, Brian Sandvig picked off Capesius once again and SEHS was back in business. Junior fullback Doug Steinkamp extended the lead with a one-yard plunge at the 5:28 mark.
Another Golden Bear turnover late in the third gave the ball back to the Gaels, who used their patented ground attack to move all the way down to the one-yard line, but the Garrigan defense stiffened and held the Gaels out of the end zone.
Looking to make one last ditch comeback attempt, the Golden Bears went three and out and SEHS secured the win.
''We're an inexperienced team and just committed too many turnovers (last night),'' BGHS head coach Marty Wadle said. ''Our kids knew what they needed to do, but we couldn't stop them when we needed to. Give credit to St. Edmond.''
The Gaels outgained Garrigan - a squad who is rated in several preseaon polls - 292-222 in total yardage.
Sandvig was the top rusher for the Gaels with 94 yards on seven carries, while Patrick Flattery contributed 60 yards on 17 attempts.
''Patrick's our most consistent back.'' said Tighe. ''I thought he ran really well.''
Engler went 3-for-5 through the air for 98 yards and a score.
Bradley paced the Golden Bears with 78 yards on 14 carries. He also hauled in three receptions for 42 yards.
''We got behind and could have got down, but our kids kept their heads up,'' Tighe said. ''Hopefully, we can build on this win.''
St. Edmond hosts Mason City Newman next Friday at 7:30 p.m. on the new field turf at Dodger Stadium.
Contact Josh Meyer at (515) 573-2141, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org