If No. 12 Handley was making a statement in yesterday's Virginia AA Division 3 semifinal, it was heard loud and clear.
Senior quarterback Lang Campbell completed 13 of 21 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns, and the Judges gained 349 yards in the first half in a 59-13 victory over Southampton of Courtland before approximately 3,000 at the Handley Bowl in Winchester.
Handley (12-1) will play Brookville of Lynchburg in the final on Friday at James Madison University in Harrisonburg at 7 p.m. The Judges won state titles in 1984 and '94.
Yesterday, Handley was nearly flawless in winning its seventh straight game. The Judges scored eight touchdowns and a field goal on 11 possession and outgained Southampton (11-2) 480 yards to 213. They held Southampton senior running back Pervis Binns, who entered with 2,057 yards rushing, to 58 yards on 17 carries. They committed no turnovers and converted five Southampton turnovers into 28 points. They committed no penalties. They scored two touchdowns within a 12-second span in the final 22 seconds of the first half, then scored another two touchdowns in a 19-second interval midway through the third quarter. And place kicker Daniel Reynolds was 8 for 8 on extra points and kicked a 40-yard field goal.
"This is the best we played all year," Handley Coach Todd Hill said. "We hit on all cylinders. We stayed with our game plan and they made some key mistakes that allowed us to jump on top of them."
Handley took the opening kickoff and marched 65 yards on 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead. Campbell, who completed 5 of 7 passes for 32 yards on the drive, escaped three would-be tacklers and dumped a pass off to sophomore running back Eric Chrisman for a five-yard touchdown on third and goal. "I don't know how I got it off," said Campbell, who has passed for 1,949 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. "I knew no one was around him, so if I could just flip it off he'd get in."
After Reynolds's field goal made it 10-0 late in the first quarter, the Judges scored four touchdowns in the final 5 minutes 27 seconds of the half. Senior running back Robert Fowler had a 62-yard touchdown run on an end-around, and junior wide receiver Adam Dutton made a diving six-yard touchdown catch to give Handley a 24-0 lead.
Southampton got on the scoreboard when Binns returned the ensuing kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 24-6. But Handley senior running back Adam Woods, who rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, scored on a one-yard run with 22 seconds remaining in the half to increase the Judges' lead to 31-6. Twelve seconds later, defensive tackle Ethan Myers intercepted Southampton quarterback Marquis Holmes and returned the ball 24 yards for a touchdown to give Handley a commanding 36-6 halftime advantage. "We knew coming in we'd have to play four solid quarters," Campbell said. "Their defensive backs hadn't been tested all year, and we were able to exploit that."
Game summary on Page D17