Those predicting North Torrance and Beverly Hills would light up the scoreboard in their nonleague high school football game Friday were half right.
North displayed its potent offense in defeating the Normans, 41-13, at Beverly Hills, but the Saxons also exhibited a fair amount of defensive ability, forcing five turnovers and frustrating one of the area's most effective running backs.
Two North Torrance players were extremely successful on both sides of the ball.
Senior Dano Casillas scored two touchdowns as a tailback and set up two others with interceptions at cornerback, and wide receiver/cornerback Dean Halverson caught two scoring passes and scored a touchdown on a 29-yard interception return.
"Teamwork, that's all it was," said Saxon tailback Lacy Watkins, who contributed two touchdowns and 71 rushing yards. "Good blocking, 110% effort from everybody and concentration on what we had to do. That's all it takes, most times."
North (3-0) took a 14-0 second-quarter lead on Watkins' 13-yard run and quarterback Frank Ramirez's 13-yard pass to Halverson.
The Saxons solidified their hold on the game on the final play of the first half.
Beverly Hills (2-1) appeared it would cut into the lead with time running out.
Discovering its offense midway through the second quarter, Beverly Hills drove to the Saxon one before an illegal motion penalty set it back five yards.
Then on third and goal, North cornerback Larry Lopez intercepted a pass by Reza Ghodstinant in the end zone and returned it to the Beverly Hills 28-yard line with 25 seconds to play.
After two incomplete passes and a running play that lost ground, a scrambling Ramirez hit Casillas with a 34-yard scoring pass that closed out the first half.
"Turnovers will kill you," said Beverly Hills Coach Carter Paysinger. "In any game at any level those are the things that will always bring you down. That play at the end of the first half was obviously a turning point in the game."
Casillas rushed for a game-high 120 yards, and North held highly regarded Tony Thapthimthong to 44 yards in 15 carries.