Viva Loudoun College Intern
Purcellville (Nov. 25, 2013) – Loudoun Valley High School celebrated the return of junior running back Andrew Cordani with a 25-13 win over Hopewell on Saturday afternoon in Purcellville. Cordani rushed for 119 yards on 26 carries and a score in his first game back from a shoulder injury.
“I think it was big getting [Cordani] back, for the team,” Viking assistant coach Anthony Long said. “He’s been carrying us all year. Early on we were worried about how he might be mentally coming off a shoulder injury as a running back. He got a couple hits early. He felt pretty good about it. Ended up just riding him the rest of the way.”From the Vikings very first possession, the ball was handed off to Cordani play after play. The junior marched his team down into field goal range with 6:17 left in the first quarter where junior kicker Aaron Peart connected on a 23-yarder to put Loudoun Valley on the scoreboard first.
“Our kicking game has been huge all year,” Long said.
With Cordani’s return, senior linebacker Brandon Grayson got to shift his focus to the defensive side of the ball after playing an offensive role in the Wildcat – at running back, quarterback and wide receiver – over the past weeks. Grayson made 16 tackles, including a handful of backfield tackles, keying in on Wolverine quarterback Tabyus Taylor who is touted as one of the best 3A recruits in Virginia.
“[Grayson] makes us all look like good coaches because he’s just such a great leader, he’s such a great football player,” Loudoun Valley head coach Daniel McGrath said. “He just zeroes in on what’s going on. He helps line up everybody out there for us. We’re lucky we send about three or four coaches out on the field with the players every week because of the leadership we have from that group.”
Grayson and the Viking defense put up zeroes for the first 20 minutes of the game — and points on the scoreboard as senior Marcus Oden’s 48-yard interception return and 2-point conversion put Valley up 11-0 — until Taylor pushed in a touchdown from less than 1-yard out to bring the Wolverines within four, 11-7.
The Valley offense, with Cordani playing for the first time since the first half of the Nov. 1 win at Loudoun County, made it 18-7 towards the end of the third quarter on a 35-yard Cordani run.
Long says his goal on offense was to run north and south in order to wear out Taylor who plays both ways for Hopewell to try to help out the Loudoun Valley defense.
“All year our defense and special teams have played a huge role for our offense setting us up in a good field position. We knew we could kind of go big on them, go at them early, try to wear them down,” Long said. “We knew [Taylor] would be in the middle there defensively: just try to wear him down to help our defense out a little bit as much as we can.”
Long stuck with his plan until early in the fourth when he called a pass play on a 2nd-and-goal. Junior Sully Warner dropped a pass into the hands of wide open junior Ryan Malsch, making it 25-7, and basically securing the victory for the Vikings.
“They were pretty big out there. They looked pretty intimidating,” Cordani said. “Our offense just got some morale going and we pushed them back and we kept going.”
McGrath hopes the Vikings continue to play well through the end of the season, especially since under his reign Loudoun Valley has not had a chance to play after Thanksgiving. However, he understands that playing in late November means playing the very best the state has to offer.
“You get to this round and every team’s good. It comes down to little things – mistakes, penalties, turnovers – at this point because everybody’s got here. We’ll do the best we can to eliminate those things.”
Listen to the story here:
Sully Warner 3-for-7, 40 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Andrew Cordani 26 carries, 119 yards, 1 TD
Brandon Grayson 7 carries, 18 yards
Sully Warner 2 carries, 9 yards
Trey McDyre 1 carry, 6 yards
Ryan Malsch 2 receptions, 20 yards, 1 TD
Matt Regan 1 receptions, 10 yards
1Q 6:17 LV Aaron Peart 23-yard FG
1Q 0:06 LV Marcus Oden 48-yard interception return (2pt Warner to McClelland)
2Q 5:02 H Tabyus Taylor 1-yard TD run (Hipps PAT)
3Q 4:00 LV Andrew Cordani 35-yard TD run (Peart PAT)
4Q 10:41 LV Sully Warner to Ryan Malsch 8-yard TD pass (Peart PAT)
4Q 5:21 H Tabyus Taylor to Ronnie Monroe 37-yard TD pass (PAT failed)
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings, scores and more.