HIGHLAND SPRINGS, VA., DEC. 5 -- Sophomore fullback Keith Burns, who has spent most of this season blocking for All-Met Lydell Scott, found himself in a much different position today.

With top-ranked T.C. Williams struggling offensively against Highland Springs, the Titans gave the ball to Burns, and he came through in the second half to propel unbeaten Williams to a 26-7 Virginia AAA Division 6 state semifinal victory before an estimated crowd of 5,000 at Kreiter Stadium.

Burns, who sat out much of the first half after being shaken up fighting off three Springers to recover a bad pitchout at the Williams 15, rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown on nine carries in the second half as the Northern Region champion from Alexandria improved to 13-0.

The Titans advanced to Saturday's championship game at W.T. Woodson against two-time defending champion Hampton, which beat Fauquier, 10-6, in the other semifinal. Williams won a state title in 1971 and '84, and made the championship game three of the last four years.

Central Region champion Highland Springs, which had won nine straight, finished its season at 10-3. The Springers, who built their winning streak after changing to an unusual offense that combines the run-and-shoot and the wing-T, were held to 19 yards rushing in the second half.

"When we came back out in the second half, Coach {Glenn} Furman said I would have to start doing something," said Burns. "So I told him to give me the ball. They were just keying on Lydell so much, they didn't think I would be getting the ball."

Running off play fakes to Scott, Burns keyed Williams' 56-yard, 11-play drive to start the second half. It ended with quarterback Kevin Brim's six-yard touchdown for a 14-7 Titans lead.

Highland Springs altered its offense in the second half to a more conventional wing-T. The Springers failed to move the ball after the Williams score, and the Titans came right back for a 64-yard, 12-play drive that culminated with Scott's two-yard touchdown on an option right pitch from Brim.

Scott, who scored on a seven-yard run in the first quarter, finished with 127 yards rushing on 24 carries. The senior needs 38 yards next week to break 3,000 for his career.

"They were stopping our trap in the first half, so we went to Burns {running right} in the second half," said Furman. "With the defense they used, we had a 300-pound tackle {Tony Traynman} blocking a linebacker, so we decided to go after it."

Highland Springs' offensive adjustment in the second half, designed to open up its passing, backfired. The gusting wind of up to 25 mph was one factor.

Wingback Emmanuel Moss, the 5-foot-9, 220-pound central Virginia player of the year, was held to 56 yards rushing, including only six in the second half. The Springers showed little offense after Tyrone Powell's 13-yard, second-quarter touchdown run.

Springers Coach Rudy Ward, whose team was 4-6 last season, said his team was just overmatched.

"We did everything we felt we could do within our scheme," said Ward. "Offensively, they were the best team we have played. Defensively, they weren't dominant, but we got only seven points off them, so they must have done something right." T.C. Williams (13-0) 7 0 12 7 26 Highland Springs (10-3) 0 7 0 0 7

TCW -- Scott 7 run (Sims kick)

HS -- Powell 13 run (Willis kick)

TCW -- Brim 6 run (kick failed)

TCW -- Scott 2 run (run failed)

TCW -- Burns 5 run (Sims kick)