HAVERHILL — The Haverhill cheerleaders held up a banner reading "Cage the Eagles" for the Hillie football players to run through before Saturday's home opener. But the hosts were unable to even slow the high flying visitors down, let alone cage them.

Behind four touchdowns from sophomore running back James Guy, St. John's Prep took charge early and improved to 2-0 with a 34-14 victory at Trinity Stadium.

Senior quarterback Matt Crowley completed five of six passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, all in the first half, while Guy rushed for 143 yards in the first 24 minutes.

The Eagles scored 21 points in the opening quarter with an explosive attack and tacked on 13 more before intermission. After that, the starters' job was done and they watched the remainder of the day's action from the sideline.

"We challenged the kids to start fast," said Prep head coach Brian St. Pierre. "We've been working on tempo to put the defense on their heels."

"We had good practices all week," added Guy. "It felt really good to go up big by the half. Mason Davis and Cooper Smith opened up some holes, and I ran behind those two big guys."

Defensive end Collin Taylor also had a big day for the winners. He had three difference making tackles and combined with teammate Tripp Clark to sack Haverhill quarterback Brady Skafas.

"Taylor is as good a defensive end as you'll see," said St. Pierre. "He's the whole package with a 4.0 GPA. A couple of times I thought they had the corner, and then I'd see two long arms corral their player and knew it was Collin."

It was the first game of the season for the Hillies and after winning the toss they elected to take the ball first, putting together a good drive that stalled in the red zone. On fourth down at the Prep 16-yard line, Skafas threw an incomplete pass while looking for a receiver on the left sideline.

The visitors took over and drove 84 yards on just four plays with Crowley completing passes to Jackson Delaney and Matt Duchemin before Delaney hauled in a 47-yard touchdown pass. Nolan Philpott booted the first of four PAT's for a 7-0 lead.

It took the home team only four plays to answer after Disani Houston returned the ensuing kickoff to the Prep 41. Skafas, a three-year starter, found Jayden Johnson for a 35-yard touchdown, and Jakob Wimmer's extra point tied it up.

"Haverhill put together that good first drive, but we were able to stop them (from there) and scored quickly," said St. Pierre. "We executed our no huddle well, and although we still have things to clean up and do better, I thought the offense ran well.

"Crowley is in control and looks like a guy that's been doing it for three years," added St. Pierre. 'He has a lot of arm talent and is very comfortable running the offense."

It took St. John's less than a minute to regain the lead for good after a long kickoff return by freshman Joenel Aguero to midfield. Guy picked up 48 yards on the first play from scrimmage, and then blasted in from a yard out.

After a defensive stop, the Eagles go on the scoreboard again as Aguero caught a 29-yard pass, followed by a Guy burst off tackle from the 11 to put his team up by two TDs late in the opening quarter.

It was all Guy on the next touchdown. He carried the ball seven times for 40 yards, capped off by a 5-yard run to paydirt. But he wasn't done yet; in the final minute of the half he broke free around the right side for 26 yards and his fourth TD of the afternoon.

"Guy ran hard, and our offensive line was fantastic," said St. Pierre. "It all starts there. It was good to see James break out."

Junior QB Jonathan Bunnell ran the SJP offense in the second half, and seven different ballcarriers got touches.

The Hillies scored their second touchdown with a minute left in the game when Jabari Baptiste found the end zone from seven yards out.

"Tim O'Connor does a nice job with the (Haverhill) program," said St. Pierre, whose team has a huge test on the road next Saturday at Central Catholic. "He's a Prep guy and I have a lot of respect for him. His kids always play hard, but they were overmatched today."

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