As the lone Saturday playoff matchup on tap in Loudon County, Woodgrove accomplished two feats in its 45-7 win over Loudoun County in the first-round of the Virginia 4A North region playoffs. In just its fourth year, the school earned its first postseason win, and it defeated the Raiders for the first time.
Wolverines senior running back Josh Sweet ran over and through the Raiders defense en route to a career-high 330 yards on 42 carries. He also ran in five touchdowns in the home victory, including scoring runs of 67 and 43 yards.
“Going into the game we knew had a physical advantage, we were bigger and stronger,” Sweet said. “The offensive line opened up huge holes for me, and up front we did a fantastic job the whole game.”
The Raiders put 10 defenders in the box, and were still unable to prevent Sweet from rushing for over 200 yards for the seventh consecutive game.
Woodgrove Coach Mike Skinner said he felt bad for having Sweet run the ball so often, but the Cornell recruit said he has no problem shouldering the load for the Wolverines (8-3), as he’s done all season.
Before Saturday’s win, the Wolverines lost their four previous meetings with Loudoun County (5-6) by a combined score of 146-42. That streak included the Raiders’ come-from behind 31-28 win on Oct. 18.
“It’s exciting for the kids and the school, it’s a new experience,” Skinner said. “County is kind of a rival for us and they are a really good program. The kids aren’t used to playing this long, so it’s a different experience.”
Woodgrove backup quarterback Billy Sheehan worked as the scout team quarterback and tried to emulate the scrambling ability of Loudoun County starter Tae Crews-Naylor, and it paid off. The Wolverines finished with six sacks and rarely allowed the quarterback to break contain.
“We wanted to keep the quarterback in the pocket,” Wolverines linebacker Brett Nesselrodt said. “Last time we sat back in coverage more, but this time we wanted to pressure the quarterback more.”
Woodgrove is currently on a four-game winning streak, and will travel to Eastern View (10-1) in Culpeper for their 4A North quarterfinal.
The Cyclones have a very athletic pistol offense, and love to spread it out to get their playmakers open in space.
“I think they have some really good athletes, so it should be a good matchup for us,” Nesselrodt said.
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