Hurricane senior quarterback Austin Hensley leads Class AAA in passing yardage, with 2,135 yards on 140-of-225 attempts (62.2 percent). A key to the Redskins' ability to maximize Hensley's efficiency, however, has been their ability to establish a productive running attack led by senior Zach Pate.
The Redskins gained just 53 yards on 43 rushing attempts two weeks ago, and Hensley's completion rate dropped to 43.3 percent. He was 13-of-30 for 113 yards.
"They beat the crap out of us physically. They're real good and they're physical, and that's what they've lacked in the past," Taylor said. "They've always had speed. They just haven't always been physical. I think they finally got them in the weight room and now they're big, they're strong and they're fast.
"That's a dangerous combination."
While more of Capital's 10 seniors line up on defense, its underclassman-dominated offense has benefited from spending half the game on the sideline. Haley has emerged as one of the state's top running backs, and leads the team with 1,144 yards and 16 touchdowns on 153 carries. He has rarely seen the field as a defensive back in recent weeks, a place where he made a name for himself as a sophomore and second team All-State utility player in 2012.
Haley did not play defense in the Cougars' regular-season finale against rival George Washington (8-2), a game that saw Capital scrape out a 14-6 win.
"He became the guy at the end of last year," Carpenter said. "He's going to play defense when we need him, but he's going to be the first option at running back, so that does a lot for him to keep him fresh and let him focus on that one thing. He's done a good job."
The winner of tonight's game advances to the quarterfinals, where they will play either No. 6 seed University (9-1) or No. 11 seed Morgantown (8-2). Those teams play Saturday night at University.
Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.tay...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.