TURLOCK -- Kevin Kramer spun away from a Merced defender and rolled out to his left.
The Turlock quarterback looked down the left sideline at a receiver, but didn't want to test Merced star Jaquari People.
Kramer turned his attention down the middle of the field, where he saw Ricky Fuentes streaking behind the secondary.
Kramer fired a pass that easily covered 60 yards in the air, hitting Fuentes perfectly in stride for a 50-yard touchdown.
Kramer was a one-man show, passing for three touchdowns and running for two more as Turlock defeated Merced 40-35 at Joe Debely Field on Friday night.
"We had no answer for him, not one," said Merced coach Rob Scheidt, whose team dropped to 1-1 in the Central California Conference and 3-4 overall.
"I don't think I saw a tape where he looked that good. I thought we did a good job on Fuentes and their other guys. We just let (Kramer) make too many plays."
It was an offensive shootout from the start as the two teams ran up and down the field.
Merced quarterback Rudy Monteon started the offensive onslaught with a 78-yard touchdown run on Merced's fourth play of the game.
He added a 1-yard touchdown run and a 49-yard scoring strike to Juan Valencia to help Merced take a 21-14 lead into the half.
While Merced needed just 14 plays to find the end zone three times, Turlock used a more deliberate approach, pounding the ball down the field.
Kramer capped off a 14-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and scored on a 3-yard run to finish off a 12-play drive on Turlock's second possession.
"We feel our offense can score right away, but we like long drives where our offensive line can pound it and wear down the defense," Kramer said.
Turlock (1-1 CCC, 6-1 overall) turned to more big plays in the second half and leaned heavily on Kramer.
The Turlock senior completed 11 of 14 passes for 211 yards and also added 104 yards on the ground on 22 carries.
Kramer hooked up with Fuentes for a 24-yard touchdown pass on the fourth play of the second half to tie the score at 21-21.
Merced's offense continued to torch Turlock's defense, marching 83 yards as Eric DeAnda scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to put Merced ahead 28-21 with 6:35 left in the third quarter.
Merced's defense had opportunities to get the Turlock offense off the field.
However, Kramer came up with a big play whenever he needed it.
"Pressure is what I like," he said. "I don't buckle down too often. That's what drives you as an athlete."
After Kramer found Fuentes on the 50-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 28-28, Merced made its first big mistake on offense.
Turlock's Kaze Villarial fell on top of a bad snap and Kramer had the ball back in his hands at Merced's 19-yard line.
Two plays later, Turlock had a 34-28 lead as Kramer found a wide open Connor Pearson in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
"It was a botched snap," Scheidt said. "We tried to go on a hard count. That one possession killed us. That was the difference in the game."
Merced had a chance to comeback.
Still trailing by six, Monteon found Michael Speights on a 17-yard pass to set up a fourth-and-3 situation at Turlock's 34-yard line with four minutes left in the game.
However, Turlock's Erick Parsons sacked Monteon on fourth down and Fuentes broke free on a 55-yard touchdown run two plays later to help seal the win for Turlock.
It was a big win coming off a tough 28-27 loss to Buhach Colony last week.
"I was talking to Ricky earlier today and he said he was still sore from last week," Kramer said. "It was tough coming out to practice each day after last week. We didn't have our best week of practice.
"I didn't know how we'd come out tonight. It was tough getting over Buhach. This will help."
Merced, which hosts BC next week, is now in a position where it can't afford another hiccup.
"We've got to win out," Scheidt said. "The playoffs really do start because I don't think two losses is going to be good enough in this conference to get in the playoffs."