ORANGE — The return of running back LaQuan Beckton was just the remedy for Los Alamitos High School's ailing offense Friday night.
Beckton rushed for 109 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Los Alamitos to a 17-10 nonleague win over Villa Park in front of 3,800 fans in Fred Kelly Stadium.
Beckton, a bruising 200-pound senior, missed Los Alamitos' opening two games with a hamstring pull, but more than lived up to his lofty preseason billing as one of the county's top backs against a strong Villa Park defense.
Fittingly, Beckton's 12-yard touchdown run with 8:30 remaining ensured Los Alamitos the victory and prevented the Griffins from losing two straight games for the first time in seven years.
Only a week ago, Los Alamitos' offense failed to generate a touchdown as the Griffins had to be content with a blocked punt for a score and a 91-yard interception return in a 17-14 loss to Servite.
"LaQuan makes a big difference in our offense," said John Barnes, Los Alamitos coach. "You need that hard-running back to be successful. I thought we got our offense going a little better and our defense came up with some key turnovers."
Villa Park (1-2) wasted three scoring opportunities as tailback Ellis Williams fumbled twice and quarterback Jason Martian threw two interceptions. Williams had 83 yards in 16 carries, but his fumble into Los Alamitos' end zone midway through the third quarter was the turning point of the game.
Villa Park held a 10-9 lead when Williams fumbled and Los Alamitos responded with an 80-yard drive that was capped by Beckton's winning score. Martian made the most of his seven completions, throwing for 159 yards, but his interception with 4:16 remaining at Los Alamitos' 20-yard line ended any hopes for a win.
The game showcased two outstanding receivers. Los Alamitos split end Tyler Cashman caught 14 passes for 145 yards and also caught a two-point conversion pass. Cashman, running primarily short slant patterns, had 12 catches at halftime.
Aaron Boone, son of Kansas City Royals catcher Bob Boone, caught three long passes for 96 yards and made some very difficult catches look easy.
"It was a wild football game," Barnes said.
Los Alamitos went into its meeting last year with Villa Park as the county's top-ranked team and came away smarting from a 24-21 loss. After Friday night's game, Barnes said the revenge factor was never mentioned.
"We never talked about it," Barnes said. "We talked about the great winning tradition at this school and the kids decided they didn't want to lose two straight. We've still got a lot of work to do before we play Esperanza in two weeks, but we're getting better."