Hanover's unbreakable leader

MECHANICSVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Hanover has advanced to its third state playoffs in five years, despite having its starting quarterback go down midway through the season with a debilitating injury.  The backup has stepped up, and the starter has found a way to remain the key player to the Hawks success.

Sam Rogers dislocated his throwing elbow seven weeks ago in a game against Henrico. Doctors told him he would be out 6-8 weeks.

"It was the hardest thing to do, I had never missed a game in my life," Rogers lamented about the ordeal.

So he applied extra ice, and rehabbed twice as hard, and remarkably, he was cleared to play in three weeks.

But he would not regain the strength in the elbow to play quarterback. Classmate Andrew Knizner had begun to step up and fill that position competently. Instead, Rogers found new ways to help the team - he stepped in at linebacker for the first time in his high school career; he lined up as a running back and a receiver for the first team in his life; plus he returned punts and held for kicks.  Just because he wasn't leading the offense as the signal-caller, he was leading the team in many other ways.

Rogers's comeback reached its pinnacle so far, as he caught a touchdown, ran for a touchdown and had a long fake punt conversion in Hanover's victory over Atlee in the region championship game.

Now the former quarterback has found a new way to help his team.

"I would love to be playing quarterback," says Rogers. "But I don't see myself as just a quarterback, I'm a football player."

Hanover plays at South County Saturday at 4pm in the state semifinals.

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