MERCED -- Stefon Gold has been a frequent visitor to the end zone the past two weeks.
The Buhach Colony senior followed up his three-TD performance last week with four touchdowns and 148 yards this week as the Thunder defeated Merced 42-21 Friday night at Veterans Stadium.
"I'm loving it," Gold said. "I've loving my offensive line. Aaron Cochran, Victor Garcia George Lopez, David Waites and Chris Ochoa. I wouldn't be anything without them."
The win puts the Thunder (2-0 Central California Conference, 5-2 overall) in a familiar place, all alone atop the conference.
The Bears (1-1, 4-3) couldn't get the Thunder offense off the field.
Buhach Colony racked up 405 yards on the ground. Most of the damage was done in the first half with the Thunder rushing for 288 yards in the first two quarters as they scored on five of their first six possessions.
"We thought we could run the ball tonight," said Buhach Colony coach Kevin Swartwood. "I was pretty surprised we were able to run that well. Shoot, our inside and outside game was meshing pretty well."
Gold scored on TD runs of 9 and 2 yards and Shane Bell added a 23-yard field goal as Buhach Colony sprinted to a 17-0 lead.
Merced struggled early as Buhach Colony's Joe Marquez made a diving interception to stop the Bears' first drive. It was one of two interceptions for Marquez.
Merced then went three-and-out on its next two possessions.
The Bears finally got on the board with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Eli Gutierrez to Tanner McBurney to cut the Thunder lead to 17-7 with 5:40 left in the second quarter.
The teams finished the first half with a flurry of points. Gold broke free up the middle for a 46-yard TD run on the Thunder's next possession to give BC a 23-7 lead.
It was the first of three touchdowns in a 46-second stretch.
Errol Dennis set up a Merced score with 53-yard run. Dennis fumbled at the end of the run and teammate Bradley Adamson scooped up the ball and advanced it another 8 yards.
Adamson then scored on a 7-yard run to pull Merced within 23-14.
However, the Thunder answered right back when Jayce Webster raced down the right sideline for an 88-yard return on the ensuing kickoff to extend the Thunder lead to 29-14 with 3:06 left in the half.
Buhach Colony went for an onside kick, but McBurney fell on the ball to give the Bears possession at the 50-yard line.
Merced scored five plays later as Dennis ran into the end zone from 3 yards out.
Merced High gets on the scoreboard against Buhach on a short pass play
Merced's Errol Dennis scores a touchdown against Buhach Colony
Buhach Colony's Stefon Gold scores his third TD
Buhach Colony's Stefon Gold scores his second touchdown