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Merced High running back bowls over, through Buhach Colony defense in rout

Bernard Bolden steps out of an ankle tackle by Buhach Colony's Alex Brum.
Bernard Bolden steps out of an ankle tackle by Buhach Colony's Alex Brum. SUN-STAR PHOTOS BY MARCI STENBERG

Merced assistant coach Christian Carlson greeted  Stephon Mathis when he returned to the sideline.

The Merced star running back had just scored his second long touchdown run with a couple of ankle-breaking cutbacks.

"Way to be an athlete," said Carlson, as he tapped Mathis on the helmet.

Carlson could have repeated that statement over and over Friday night.

The Merced offense made big play after big play in a 56-18 rout of Buhach Colony at Stadium '76.

"They are an electric bunch," said BC coach Kevin Swartwood, whose team dropped to 0-3 in the Central California Conference and 2-5 overall.

"(Mathis) is special. I don't know what else to say. He made it look easy."

Mathis needed just 10 carries to rack up 208 yards and four touchdowns.

"On some of the plays the line blocked well, but their defenders didn't want to tackle," Mathis said.

"I could see them running at me. They would be five yards away and they'd be looking at my legs."

The senior has already topped 1,000 yards and has scored 15 touchdowns in just six games.

It wasn't all Mathis, though. Merced just had too many athletes.

There was Kenny Cooper returning a kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown. He also caught a 24-yard touchdown pass.

Bernard Bolden hauled in a 34-yard TD throw and delivered some knockout hits on defense.

"Coming in, we didn't underestimate our opponent," Cooper said. "A lot of us felt that this was a clean-up game.

"We had to clean up a lot of stuff, especially on offense. That's what this game was about."

If anything, Merced made too many big plays.

The offense was only on the field for 17 plays in the first half and the starters only played 27 snaps before they were pulled with the game well out of hand.

Merced had 10 plays that gained over 20 yards.

"It was a weird game in that there didn't seem to be any rhythm," said Merced coach Rob Scheidt, whose team is 2-0 in the CCC and 5-1 overall.

"It was just big play, big play, score. I guess there's nothing wrong with that.

"But I remember going in at the half and telling our guys we weren't even off our script of plays yet."

The Merced defense followed Bolden's lead with plenty of big hits.

Defensive end Jarred Mounce and cornerbacks Kaisjon Lopez and Bobby Porter were impressive throughout the game.

Merced's Achilles' heel continues to be penalties.

Merced was flagged 13 times for 117 yards.

"It's been an issue and I'm sure it will be brought up in practice," Cooper said.

"We'll pay for it."