WEST HAVEN — The ‘Beast’ roared.

Fairfield Prep running back Doug Harrison, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in his final seven games last season, picked up right where he left off in the season opener against Notre Dame-West Haven Friday night at Veterans Stadium.

The 5-foot-8, 200-pound junior rushed for 211 yards on 31 carries while scoring two touchdowns as Fairfield Prep climbed on Harrison’s back and got a couple of huge plays from its defense in a 29-12 victory over the Green Knights.

“He is a beast,” Prep coach Keith Hellstern said of Harrison. “We leaned on him hard tonight for a couple of reasons. One, because he was doing some good things and at some points in the game we were looking to eat some clock. That was important and that kept us moving forward.”

After putting up solid numbers in the first half — Harrison had 63 yards on 13 carries — he kept Prep in front and in control in the second half, bulldozing his way through the Green Knights for 148 yards on 20 carries.

“I would love to get the ball even more,” said Harrison, who had nine carries of nine yards or more in the second half. “I enjoy it, every single carry.”

Harrison scored his two touchdowns on runs of seven yards and five yards, both coming in the second quarter as Prep rallied from an early 6-0 deficit to take the lead and never look back.

“When I get the ball, I don’t feel anything, limitless energy,” Harrison said. “We were prepared tonight.”

The Green Knights opening drive looked like a thing of beauty as they marched 75 yards in 15 plays to score on a 3-yard run by Isaiah Kane. But after that possession, the Jesuits clamped down defensively and over ND-West Haven’s next five possessions heading into halftime, they managed just 31 yards and two first downs.

“They stopped our run a little bit and they got a lot of pressure on our quarterback,” said Notre Dame coach Joe DeCaprio, making his coaching debut after replacing long-time veteran Tom Marcucci. “That’s on me. I probably should have thrown some more short balls. I saw some open things deep I and thought we could take advantage of that.”

Harrison’s two second quarter touchdown runs gave Prep a 13-7 halftime lead that was extended to 20-6 early in the third quarter when Jesuits quarterback Will Lucas — who only completed two passes all game — found Finn Duran in the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown catch. Lucas also hooked up with Duran for a 73-yard completion that set up Prep’s first touchdown. NDWH quarterback Chris Elias threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Zackary Hochman to cut the Prep lead to 20-12 with 2:02 left in the third, but Prep’s Hendrik Boot kicked a 30-yard field goal in just over nine minutes left to make it 23-12. Then Anthony Mastroni — who suffered a leg injury in the opening game last season and didn’t play the rest of the year — recovered a fumble at the 1-yard line as Notre Dame was looking to get back into the game, and went 99 yards to make it 29-12.

“They (Prep) made some big plays on defense and we could have folded and gotten beat by a lot,” DeCaprio said. “But we didn’t. That kid (Harrison) he’s a beast over there. We hit him every chance we could. Just a mistake at the goal line, we fumble there … if we don’t things could have been different.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Prep running back Doug Harrison. The junior rushed 31 times for 211 yards and scored two touchdowns. He had 63 yards in the first half and turned on the jets in the second, adding 148 to his total.

TURNING POINT

Ahead 7-6 midway through the second quarter, Fairfield Prep linebacker Austin Valus intercepted Chris Elias’ pass in the flat and returned the ball down to the Notre Dame-West Haven 11-yard line. Three plays later, Doug Harrison scored to give Prep a 13-6 lead. The Jesuits never looked back after that.

QUOTABLE

“After that (Notre Dame) first drive, I think we settled in and got a better idea of what they were trying to do. We didn’t pull off any major wrinkles. We just played.” — Prep coach Keith Hellstern.

celsberry@ctpost.com; @elsctpost.com

FAIRFIELD PREP 29, NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN 12

FAIRFIELD PREP 0 13 7 9 — 29

NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN 6 0 6 0 — 12

NDWH — Isaiah Kane, 3-yard run (kicked failed)

FP — Doug Harrison, 7-yard run (Hendrick Boot kick)

FP — Harrison, 5-yard run (kick blocked)

FP — Finn Duran, 27-yard pass from Will Lucas (Boot kick)

NDWH — Zackary Hochman 7-yard pass from Chris Elias (kick failed)

FP — Boot, 30-yard field goal

FP — Anthony Mastroni, 99-yard fumble recovery (kick failed)

Records: Fairfield Prep (1-0); Notre Dame-West Haven (0-1)