Handley's offense runs out of a four-receiver, shotgun formation, but the player taking the snaps adds an important twist: The Judges' quarterback, sophomore J.J. Dorsey, is also their top rusher.
Dorsey has rushed for more than 1,400 yards this year to go along with 2,000 passing yards, and he has led the Judges (10-1) to their second straight Virginia AA Division 3 Region II championship game, where they will host Turner-Ashby on Saturday in Winchester. Dorsey rushed for 103 yards on Saturday and threw for 104.
"We can have four receivers and spread [the defense] out and keep them from crowding the box, and at the same time we can have two running backs in the backfield," Handley Coach Tony Rayburn said. "The difference is that one of our running backs also happens to be the quarterback."
Handley is one of several area playoff teams who are augmenting potent passing offenses with their quarterback's ability to take the snap and run with it, sometimes on planned plays, sometimes on impromptu scrambles. Osbourn junior Brandon Hogan rushed for 197 yards and six touchdowns and threw for 159 yards and a touchdown to lead the Manassas school to its first playoff victory in 23 years on Friday night. Manassas Park senior Jay Terrell rushed for 152 yards and passed for 132 in the Cougars' 22-14 win over Goochland. All three have rushed and passed for more than 1,000 yards this season.
Warren County senior H.B. Banjoman took the snaps in the run-heavy single-wing attack this year and set a Virginia record with 2,608 rushing yards.
Osbourn switched to the spread offense this year after a few seasons using the single wing. The offensive switch allowed the Eagles to take advantage of their talented skill-position players while still keeping the ball in the hands of their best athlete, Hogan, and kept opposing defenses from stacking up on the line.
"It was an offense designed around our personnel out on the edge as well as his exceptional capabilities of throwing it and running it," Osbourn Coach Steve Schultze said of Hogan. "It's been a system we've designed for our personnel, not just for him."
With two big bursts of momentum, Sherando won its first playoff game in seven years on Friday night. The Warriors scored on three of their first four drives, then came from behind with a 27-point fourth quarter to beat host Louisa County, 48-35, in a Virginia AA Division 4 Region II semifinal.
Quarterback Ross Metheny completed touchdown passes of 58 and 47 yards, linebacker Jacob Loring returned a fumble 56 yards for a touchdown and running back Joe Oher rushed for a 45-yard score to give the Warriors the lead for good.
"Our guys were playing hard the whole time, but it was just one of those games where it was all about momentum," third-year Sherando coach Bill Hall said. "We got some big plays in the fourth quarter."
After making the playoffs for the first time since 1998 -- when the team included current Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Kelley Washington -- Sherando of Stephens City made the most of a wild scene at Louisa, which included multiple fireworks displays and a crowd of about 6,000 people.
"It was just electric," Hall said. "A lot of our fans came down for the game, and it was just a great atmosphere. This is great for our school and our city and our kids. They've worked hard to get here."