Handley sophomore quarterback J.J. Dorsey is quickly emerging from the long shadow left by L.A. Anderson, the Judges' all-state senior quarterback last season. Dorsey, a converted running back, engineered a 12-play scoring drive in the closing minutes of Monday night's game at Sherando, capped by a nine-yard touchdown pass to Matt Westfall with 27 seconds remaining. Dorsey then found Aaron Wright on a two-point conversion pass to seal the come-from-behind, 36-33 win.
"He's always been a playmaker and a competitor," Handley Coach Tony Rayburn said of Dorsey. "And he's always been a great runner. But what he's done in the passing game, the improvements he's made there since the preseason, it's really something."
Dorsey carried the ball 26 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns against Sherando and also added 207 yards passing and two more scores.
"A game like last night shows that we have a lot of character on this football team, and it builds confidence," said Rayburn, whose team led 28-14 in the third quarter before three straight scores by Sherando gave the Warriors a 33-28 lead with 5 minutes 50 seconds to play. "And those are things we're really going to need the next couple of weeks."
Handley (4-1, 2-0) will travel to Central of Woodstock on Friday before hosting No. 16 Liberty (5-0, 2-0) on Oct. 22. The Eagles have gone undefeated in district play the past two years, limiting a Judges team that has averaged nearly 30 points per game to six points in each outing.
-- Angela Watts