FREDERICKSBURG, VA., DEC. 1 -- Simeon Tucker had been leading the Tabb offense all season with his elusive running, but in today's Virginia Group AA Division 4 semifinal against Chancellor, the Tigers took a different tack. It was Wayne Hoskins's first-half passing that spurred Tabb to a 31-20 victory and a date with Lee County in next Saturday's final.

The Tigers dealt Chancellor the game-breaking blow in spectacular style with one second left in the first half. After a Chargers punt, Hoskins put Tabb on the host school's 36 with a 17-yard completion to Willie Buchanan. From there he floated another pass to Buchanan for a touchdown and an 18-7 margin.

"I caught the ball and was praying that the {defender} wouldn't catch me," Buchanan said. "At halftime, Wayne {Hoskins} told me he just threw it and didn't know whether I was going to catch it."

Hoskins's first-half passing (10 for 15, 167 yards, two touchdowns) buoyed the Tigers during a second-quarter running drought. And while Tucker proved less than his usual spectacular self -- 2,118 yards rushing coming into today -- his presence forced the Chancellor defense to key on the run, opening wide passing lanes.

"I expected that we had to throw some to open up the game because . . . we knew they were going to key on Simeon," Hoskins said. "But the line gave me all day to throw and when they do that the receivers are going to get open."

It took a while, though, for Tabb to establish itself as Chancellor broke ahead, 7-0, Brian Ratliff engineering a 12-play drive culminating in his 23-yard touchdown pass to running back Melvin Davis.

"We got on top early but weren't able to hold" the lead, Chargers Coach Scott Miller said. "I thought we ran the ball outside with some success but we didn't make crucial defensive plays when we needed to."

On third and nine on the Chancellor 8, the Tigers capitalized on miscommunication in the secondary as Hoskins found tight end Greg Harris open for a touchdown early in the second quarter, closing to 7-6.

Tabb took the lead, for good, with 2:05 left in the half on a five-yard run by Cedric Robinson. It capped an 11-play drive on which Hoskins completed two of five passes for 38 yards and ran for a first down deep in Chargers territory.

Chancellor rallied with an early third-quarter drive of 57 yards that produced a 35-yard touchdown run by Jesse Skillman to make it 18-14.

"These kids just didn't quit," Miller said. "We got the ball early in the first half, threw an interception but then came right back to score. Who knows if we had come right out and not {been intercepted}."

Just when it appeared the Chargers weren't going to let the game get out of hand, Tabb again struck for a quick score. With 9:45 left in the third quarter, Robinson took it in on a six-yard touchdown jaunt, making it 24-13.

Tabb then began working on the clock, methodically pounding away at the overworked Chargers defense until they put the game out of reach with Tucker's 23-yard touchdown.