Lamont Harris Jr. waited two years for last Friday.

The St. Augustine Prep junior rushed 22 times for 242 yards and three touchdowns as the Hermits opened the season with a 48-14 win over Middle Township.

The 5-foot-7, 180-pound Harris did not play varsity as a freshman. He started some games at linebacker as a sophomore but an ankle injury forced him to miss several contests.

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On offense last year, Harris sat behind standout running back Calvin Cass, who rushed for 2,001 yards and is now a freshman at Navy.

"I just had to wait for my chance," Harris said. "Now it's my turn. I finally get to get my name out there. I didn't expect to have that big of a game, but it felt good to show what I could do."

In a telephone conversation Wednesday night, Harris, a Washington Township resident, discussed a few topics, including what he learned from Cass. St. Augustine plays its home opener against Lower Cape May Regional at 6 p.m. today. St. Augustine dubs the day "Hermit Fest" and has numerous pre-game activities for students and parents.

On how he started playing football: I started when I was 7 years old. I kept begging my mom (Alice), but she didn't let me play football at first. She said, 'I don't want you get hurt.' Finally she let me play, and I haven't turned back.

On how he became a running back: It was my first year in football and we had a skill competition. I was always the fastest guy, so I started at running back right from the jump.

On playing for St. Augustine head coach Mark Reardon and offensive coordinator Charlie Roman: It's great. Coach Reardon was at the college level with Villanova and coach Roman won state championships with Holy Spirit. They are winners. They know what it takes to win. They have a winning attitude and that carries over to us.

On what he learned from Cass last season: I learned what it takes to win. His work ethic was unbelievable.

On Hermit Fest and tonight's home opener vs. Lower Cape May: Everybody comes out to the game. It's a dress down day. There's hot dogs and hamburgers. People get their face painted. It's crazy.

Told to Michael McGarry


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