MERCED — Merced High quarterback Tyrone Williams wasn't happy with his play in the first half of the season. Most notably the 11 interceptions he's thrown.
The Bears quarterback had plenty of reasons to smile on Friday night as he accounted for four touchdowns to lead Merced to a 48-12 rout of Turlock in the Central California Conference opener for both teams at Veterans Stadium.
"I knew I had to step up now that we're in league," Williams said. "I've got to run the ball and throw the ball. When I'm able to run the ball, it makes the safeties have to worry about the run. That adds a lot to our passing game."
The Bears took advantage of mismatches in the Turlock secondary all night.
Williams threw to a wide open Travante Richard for a 42-yard touchdown on a third-and-18 situation to give the Bears a 14-0 lead with 9:17 left in the first quarter.
Williams also hurt the Bulldogs (4-2 overall) with his legs with touchdown runs of 11 and 8 yards.
The junior completed 11 of 14 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns, including a 14-yard scoring strike to Nick Camper in the second half.
"It's a process with Tyrone," Merced head coach Rob Scheidt said. "He's a great kid. Everyone expects him because he's 6-4 and 200 pounds to go out and make plays.
"I think the first half of the year was a combination of our schedule, getting used to varsity and the pace we're trying to play at on offense. There's a lot to digest. We made some better decisions tonight on offense."
The lone highlight for Turlock in the first half was a 99-yard touchdown run by Javon Hogan. The big play came after Williams threw his only interception of the night at the goal line.
The next play, Hogan exploded off the left side and ran down the sideline for a touchdown to cut Merced's lead to 21-6 midway through the second quarter.
Hogan finished with 134 yards on 10 carries.
It was one of the few mistakes by the Bears defense all night.
Merced sacked the Bulldogs' Sean Downs four times and held the Turlock quarterback to just 68 yards.
"If you look at Turlock on paper with (Patrick) Green and Hogan. They've got some other kids who are very athletic," Scheidt said. "I just think we played exceptional tonight."
Merced's Jabar Byrd came up with big plays out the backfield with touchdown runs of 28 and 54 yards. Byrd finished with 128 yards on just three carries.
The Bears (4-2 overall) will now turn their attention to next week's showdown with Buhach Colony, which knocked off Pitman 10-0 on Friday.
"That's one thing about league is when you win, next week becomes a bigger game," Scheidt said. "I want to enjoy this win right now, but my mind is already shifting to thinking about the other scores and next week."