The Merced High School football team finished off a perfect 6-0 run through the Central California Conference with a 62-21 win over Central Valley on Friday night in Ceres.
The Bears (7-3 overall) scored touchdowns on their first five possessions to open up a big lead early.
The defense shined in the second half, returning two interceptions for touchdowns and returning another interception to the 1-yard line.
The Bears dominated in their six CCC wins, outscoring their opponents 308 to 83. Merced scored at least 38 points in each conference game.
The Bears will now find out on Sunday where they will open the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
Golden Valley 31, El Capitan 7 — The Cougars closed out the regular season with a convincing victory over the Gauchos.
The Cougars’ Jonah White caught a 32-yard touchdown pass and intercepted two balls on defense. Lamare Beard scored two rushing touchdowns on runs of 22 and 2 yards for Golden Valley (3-3 CCC, 6-4).
Los Banos 26, Pacheco 16 — The Tigers closed out a second consecutive undefeated run through the Western Athletic Conference.
Los Banos (7-0 WAC, 9-1) was led by quarterback David Herrera, who rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns and threw a touchdown. Herrera has now accounted for 30 touchdowns this season with 15 touchdown throws and 15 scoring runs.
The Los Banos defense was led by Cole Ramos’ 16 tackles. Adan Salas added nine tackles.
Hilmar 48, Modesto Christian 24 — The Yellowjackets erupted for 28 first-quarter points as they defeated the Crusaders.
Hilmar’s Caden Bailey rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns on runs of 28 and 40 yards. Logan Cardoso added 107 rushing yards and three touchdowns on three 5-yard runs.
Hilmar finishes the regular season with a 4-1 record in the Trans-Valley League and 7-3 overall.
Escalon 49, Livingston 21 — All three Wolves touchdowns came on long plays as Max Nolasco returned a kickoff 90 yards for a sore. Zack Duran added a 75-yard touchdown run and Alex Hernandez scored on a 70-yard run.
Livingston finishes with a 2-3 record in the TVL and 3-7 overall.
Escalon went 5-0 in the TVL and 9-1 overall.
Le Grand 49, Mariposa 20 — Bulldogs senior Alexis Granados rushed for 237 yards and four touchdowns as Le Grand won the Green and Gold Bowl XV.
Granados helped the Bulldogs jump out to a 20-0 lead with touchdown runs of 6, 16 and 16 yards in the first two quarters.
Le Grand sophomore quarterback Diego Martinez threw three touchdowns, including two to senior Reyes Diaz.
Orestimba 49, Gustine 7 — The Warriors opened up a 43-0 lead at the half in the Battle for the Wooden Chief.
Orestimba will keep the statue for another year as the Warriors improve to 6-1 in the Southern League and 7-3 overall.
Gustine falls to 4-3 in the SL and 4-6 overall.
Chowchilla 28, Liberty 23 — The Tribe overcame an early 14-0 deficit to clinch the Northwest Sierra League championship outright.
Chowchilla finished the regular season with a 7-0 NSL record and 8-2 overall.
Dwayne Hemphill returned two fumbles for touchdowns on defense for the Tribe. Hemphill scored on a 49-yard fumble return in the first half to help Chowchilla cut the deficit to 17-14 at the half.
Hemphill added a 79-yard fumble return for a score in the scond half.
Chowchilla quarterback Davian Stephenson scored two rushing touchdowns.
Other Merced-area scores:
Patterson 63, Buhach Colony 2
Ripon Christian 35, Delhi 0