Loudoun Valley downs Hopewell, advances to Virginia 3A East semifinals

It didn’t take long for Loudoun Valley running back Andrew Cordani to reestablish himself as the bruising backfield force his teammates have come to expect.

Playing for the first time since separating his shoulder three weeks ago, Cordani was asked to carry the load for the Vikings in the Saturday’s Virginia 3A East region quarterfinal against Hopewell. The junior did just that, toting the ball 27 times for 127 yards and scoring a touchdown in Loudoun Valley’s 25-13 win in Purcellville.

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With the win, the Vikings will host Central-Woodstock, a 22-14 winner over Poquoson, in next week’s region semifinals. The victory also gives Loudoun Valley 10 wins in a single season for the first time in school history, dating back to 1962.

From the outset, the plan was simple on offense for Loudoun Valley (10-2). The Vikings gave Cordani the ball and let him churn out yards. After the defense forced a three-and-out to start the game, Cordani touched the ball on seven of Loudoun Valley’s first eight offensive plays.

Cordani admitted he played this game at less than 100 percent.

“Watching a game on the sideline stinks,” Cordani said. “I still have some pain, and it’s hard at times to run behind my pads.”

Cordani ran for a 35-yard touchdown with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, giving Loudoun Valley an 18-7 advantage. The junior running back slipped through a hole and outran the Hopewell defense for the score.

All week, the Loudoun Valley coaches told the defense that the key to beating Hopewell (6-6) was limiting plays from quarterback Tabyus Taylor. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound senior ran the ball 26 times for 155 yards and a touchdown and threw for 146 yards and another score.

Despite the numbers, the Loudoun Valley defense was able to force an interception, four three-and-outs and two fourth-down stops. The Vikings’ interception came from senior defensive back Marcus Oden, who took the pick 46 yards for a touchdown with six seconds remaining in the first quarter.

“If we can play a good team like this,” Loudoun Valley linebacker Brandon Grayson said, “then we can do this against anyone we play.”

 
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