After a slow start against a struggling Enochs High team, Merced's Kris Turner-Jackson helped ignite the Bears.
The senior broke through the middle on a read-option draw and sprinted 92 yards for a score early in the second half as Merced pulled away for a 31-6 victory over the Eagles at Dan Gonsalves Stadium.
Enochs fell to 0-4 ahead of its Modesto Metro Conference opener next week against east town rival Beyer (2-2).
"We got in there at halftime and just went over our blocking schemes," said Turner-Jackson, whose teams rushed for just 2 yards on 10 carries. "The game plan coming in was to run the ball, and so we just got back to it in the second half.
"My guard gave me a great kickout block on the play, and as soon as he did, I saw the whole field open up. I think it was the boost we needed."
Turner-Jackson rushed for 137 yards on 11 carries.
The big run certainly seemed to give the Bears' offense a jolt in the arm.
Merced (3-1) ran the ball 10 times for 192 yards and three touchdowns in the second half.
The Enochs triple option looked like it might give Merced the same fits it had a year ago against the Eagles, but the Bears quickly adjusted.
Things really slowed down for Enochs (0-4) once quarterback Shawn Munoz exited the game with an injury early in the second quarter. Kent McCoy (16-76) helped finish off that same drive with a 10-yard touchdown run to make it 7-6 Merced, but the Eagles had trouble moving the ball after that.
A blocked field goal by the Merced defense helped set up a Daniel Silva 21-yard field goal as time expired, putting the Bears up 10-6 at halftime.
The Bears' defense turned Enochs away at the Merced 8-yard line on the opening drive of the second half and Turner-Jackson broke loose on the very next play to make it 17-6.
Merced's defense forced three turnovers, had a couple red zone denials on downs, blocked a kick and picked up a pair of sacks.
"You know the tough thing about that offense is even if they aren't moving the ball, they're eating up clock," Merced coach Rob Scheidt said. "You start to get a little antsy. I could feel myself getting antsy, especially with our three-and-outs on offense, so you knew the kids were."