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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, September 02, 2017 6:20 pm

Saint Francis opens up with lopsided win


Saint Francis junior Piercen Harnish harkened back to his high school days to help cap off the defending NAIA national champion Cougars' 55-7 season-opening win Saturday at Jamestown (North Dakota). 

The All-American linebacker was a two-way standout for Norwell before concentrating on defense when he got to Saint Francis. With the Cougars already up 34-0 at halftime, Harnish returned to his offensive ways as he ran 52 yards for a touchdown on a fake punt early in the third quarter that put the game out of reach for a 41-0 advantage.

"I haven't touched a ball (on offense) in about four years since high school," Harnish said. "So it is like once you get the ball in your hands, you are like what do you do with it? It was a great set up, our line did perfect for it, and it opened up like the sea, and it was just 'hit it.' "

The Cougars' Justin Green ran for 94 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries, while Ryan Cinadr went for 70 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

Senior quarterback Nick Ferrer was 16 of 19 for 249 yards and a 15-yard touchdown to Rocky James. 

Saint Francis scored 20 points in the first quarter, 14 in the second, 14 in the third and seven in the fourth.

"I thought we came out really fast," Ferrer said. "It was exactly what we wanted. Our goal was every time we touched the football, we wanted to score. Up front, we protected, and we ran the ball really well."

"It was a great team win; the defense obviously played well. We are excited to head to Week 2."

Saint Francis outgained Jamestown (0-2) 586-175. The Cougars ran for 298 yards and passed for 288. 

The Jimmies avoided the shutout with a fourth-quarter touchdown.

The Cougars, who extended their winning streak to 10 in a row, will open up the home portion of their schedule at noon next Saturday against St. Francis (Illinois).