MODESTO — The Merced High football coaching staff knew the run game was something that needed to be addressed at halftime on Friday night.
The first half proved a frustrating struggle for the Bears' offense as it turned the ball over and failed to maintain drives against host Enochs High.
But the Bears' 2 rushing yards on 10 carries was the most glaring of the first-half failures.
Kris Turner-Jackson helped erase those memories with Merced's first play of the second half. The senior broke through the middle on a read-option draw and then sprinted 92 yards for a score. It was the start of a big half for the Merced run game as it cruised to a 31-6 victory over Enochs at Dan Gonsalves Stadium.
"We got in there at halftime and just went over our blocking schemes," said Turner-Jackson, who had 137 yards on 11 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."
The big run certainly seemed to give the Bear 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."
Jabar Byrd put the game away in the fourth quarter when he ran through some tackles and accelerated for a 43-yard TD run. Tyrone Williams (196 total yards, two touchdowns) would tack on a 1-yard TD run to cap the scoring.
MERCED 31, ENOCHS 6
At Johansen High, Modesto
Merced 7 3 7 14 31
Enochs 0 6 0 0 6
M Travante Richard 20 pass from Tyrone Williams (Daniel Silva kick)
E McCoy Kent 10 run (Run failed)
M Silva 21 field goal
M Kris Turner-Jackson 92 run (Silva kick)
M Jabar Byrd 43 run (Silva kick)
M Williams 1 run (Silva kick)
Records: Merced 3-1, Enochs 0-4.
JV Merced 38-0