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Preview: No. 2 Stone Bridge faces Hanover in Virginia AAA Division 5 semifinal

By Brandon Parker,

What: Va. AAA Div. 5 semifinal

When: 4 p.m.

Where: Hanover High, Mechanicsville, Va.

Tickets: $10

How they got here: Stone Bridge (13-0) rallied from a 22-point first-half deficit to beat Yorktown, 69-50, and capture its sixth Northern Region title in eight years. Hanover (9-3) downed Hopewell, 35-7, to win its third Central Region crown in four years.

When Stone Bridge has the ball: The Bulldogs are fueled by the one-two punch of running back Sterling Dailey (1,346 yards, 19 touchdowns) and senior quarterback Ryan Burns. The Stanford recruit has thrown for a school-record 2,337 yards this season, often finding wideout D’Ante Yarborough (1,057 yards, 14 scores) behind the secondary for big plays.

When Hanover has the ball: Quarterback Sam Rogers is the catalyst for the Hawks, and he totaled 289 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win against Hopewell. Rogers’ dual-threat ability could be vital in avoiding the heavy pass rush from Stone Bridge’s Alabama-bound defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, who was named the Ga­tor­ade Virginia Football Player of the Year this week.

Skinny: With both teams capable of lighting up the scoreboard, defense will be the difference-maker in this contest. If Allen and the Bulldogs can contain Rogers and create big-play opportunities for their offense, Stone Bridge should position itself for a fifth state final appearance in the last eight years.

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