Adam Jollie scores three touchdowns to lead St. John to the 2019 season opening win over North Star in 9-man Region 2 football game.

CANDO — To say that North Star was behind the 8-ball in its opening game of 2019 against a St. John team that was just outside of the preseason Top 5 is — accurate.

“The big thing with the first half there is that we were playing six guys on defense and they never played against a triple option team and it’s just so many adjustments that it’s hard to prepare for,” said Bearcats head coach Bryan Haugen. “Plus having only 10 days to get ready, it’s not exactly one of the easiest things to do.”

The Woodchucks (1-0) scored on three of their first four possessions en route to the 32-14 9-man Region 2 win over the Bearcats Friday, August 23, from Conyers Field.

Senior quarterback Adam Jollie ran the option with efficiency accounting for three of the four Woodchucks’ touchdowns with scoring runs of 11 and 47 yards. He also threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Bradley Defender that capped off a nine play, 49 yard opening drive, were the Woodchucks had to overcome three consecutive penalties that cost them 20 yards.

In all, both teams accounted for 20 penalties, 11 in the first half.

“Both teams had a lot of players to graduate from last season so we knew it was going to be sloppy when you get a lot of kids out on the football field, a lot of growing pains but we were able to overcome them,” said St. John head coach Cory Davis.

“That was a new play clock so you didn’t know how fast it was going to be but it really, really sped the game up,” Haugen added.

Bearcats new starting quarterback Jayce Thomas got North Star on the board in the third quarter after the Bearcats recovered the squib kick to open the half. He connected with Jeremiah Hill on a 22-yard completion and then rushed to the 2-yard line where he punched it in on the next play.

Hill’s 22-yard touchdown catch from Tom Nikoliasen, III, followed by Hill’s 2-point conversion ended the scoring for the night as the Bearcats start the season 0-1.

“We’re happy with the win but we need a lot of improvement. We’ll go back to the practice field and work on it,” Davis said.

Tyreece Gunville added a touchdown and three 2-point conversion runs for the Woodchucks.

Chris Harris can be reached at charris@devilslakejournal.com and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ

St. John at North Star box score

St. John    8 16 0 8  — 32

North Star 0 0 6 8  — 14

First Quarter

StJ — Defender 29 pass from Jollie (run failed), 8:24.

StJ — Safety, 7:28.

Second Quarter

StJ — Jollie 11 run (Gunville run), 8:31.

StJ — Gunville 2 run (Gunville run), 2:44.

Third Quarter

NS — Thomas 2 run (pass failed), 11:18.

Fourth Quarter

StJ — Jollie 47 run (Gunville run), 10:45.

NS  — Hill 22 pass from Nikoliasen (Hill run), 6:39.