A separated shoulder, as Cory Colder has learned, makes life unkind for a running back. It can be downright unpleasant as a student, too. The Briar Woods senior, only days after reinjuring his right shoulder in a win last Friday over Loudoun County, winced whenever he slung on a backpack for school this week. He couldn’t raise his right hand in class, either, so teachers either got grimaced answers, or none at all.

Saturday, the 5-foot-8, 190-pound Colder powered through the pain and scored four touchdowns in the No. 4 Falcons’ 45-15 win over Courtland in a Virginia AA Division 4 semifinal. Briar Woods (14-0), which won its 28th straight, will face Heritage-Lynchburg next Saturday at Liberty University with a chance to claim its third straight state title. Heritage (12-1) beat Salem, 24-16, in the other semifinal.

“It was just great knowing that if he got the ball, he was going to finish a run hard and do everything he could,” quarterback Trace McSorley said of Colder, who finished with 175 yards on 29 carries. “He had a couple of off weeks and he really wanted to prove his point. . . . He just came out with that attitude today that he wasn’t going to be stopped.”

On Monday, Colder looked more walking wounded than runaway threat. He arrived in school wearing a sling, his shoulder injured for the second time in as many weeks. He didn’t participate in full-contact practice until Wednesday. Appointments with a local chiropractor filled his schedule as much as film sessions did.

But a week of ice and rest did him good. He said he didn’t take any aspirin before the game, and if he was dealing with pain, it certainly didn’t show. Colder’s first 17 carries all went for positive gains. It wasn’t until his 18th that he went nowhere. On his 20th, Courtland’s defense finally forced him backward.

Briar Woods advanced to its third straight state title game with a 45-15 victory over Courtland. (James Sherrill Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC/The Washington Post/The Washington Post)

Briar Woods led, 17-9, at halftime, but a third-quarter barrage keyed by Colder turned a fight into a rout. First, a Courtland defender focused on Colder left tight end Cam Serigne open for a 43-yard touchdown catch. Three minutes later, McSorley faked a handoff to Colder. As the Cougars (9-5) went one way, the quarterback went the other, bolting 80 yards downfield for another score.

McSorley finished with 111 yards rushing on seven carries and completed 5 of 10 passes for 126 yards.

“You’ve just got to get a hat on a hat and plant your foot in the ground and go,” Coach Charlie Pierce said.

Afterward, Colder, grinning sheepishly, conceded he hadn’t exactly followed doctor’s orders this week. He was supposed to wear the sling on his arm all week, he said, but he “didn’t want the attention.” After Saturday’s game, it might be too late for that.