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Woodland Hills – Steubenville Preview

Written by: on Monday, August 31st, 2009


The game: Woodland Hills (7, 0-0) vs. Steubenville (OH Div. III, 0-0)

When: Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009 @ 3:30 p.m.

Where: Wheeling Island Stadium, Wheeling, W. Va.

About the game: Two schools, one long-established, the other formed not so very long ago, clash in a potentially epic battle. These two programs have played each other before, and both coaches, longtime veterans of the game of football and also very goof friends, have combined for more than 500 victories and nine appearances in their respective state championship football games. A really, really long regular season winning streak is on the line in this one.

About Woodland Hills: Woodland Hills fields what could one of its most talented football teams in recent history. Six athletes on the ’09 edition of the Wolverines are Division-1 prospects – three have already verbally committed to schools. Dom Timbers (RB, Syracuse), Mike Lee (LB, Purdue), and Khaynin Mosley-Smith (DL, Pitt) are only half the D-1 equation. Davon Dixon (DB), Quinton Pitts (DB), and Rich Gray (DL) are also potential prospects to play at college football’s highest level.

There’s no question that defense will be what drives Woodland Hills this coming season.

In its brief history, the Wolverines have already produced six athletes that have gone on to the NFL, most notably Jason Taylor and Steve Breaston. The Wolverines have won 30 WPIAL playoff games, four WPIAL championships, and played in three state championship games. Its 1988, 2001, and 2002 teams all received national rankings at some point in their respective seasons from the USA-Today.

The Wolverines are led by head coach George Novak, a winner of 231 games in his 32-year coaching career. He spent 10 years at Steel Valley High School, in Munhall, winning the 1982 “AAA” championship before taking the Woodland Hills position.

About Steubenville: You can best sum up the Big Red in one word: winning. That’s all Steubenville seems to do anymore. Since 2004, they’ve gone an impressive 68-3 (.957) overall, winning no fewer than 11 games in each of those seasons, and finishing the 2005 and 2006 seasons unblemished and as state champions. Head football coach Reno Saccoccia (pronounced Sa – kotch) owns a career coaching record of 272-47 (.852). Do those stats sound bananas?

Even better, the Big Red enter this showdown with Woodland Hills riding a 61-game regular season winning streak. And Steubenville has twice before played the Wolverines, and won, by a combined score of 62-17. That’s an average score of 31-9.

In its storied history, Steubenville has made 21 appearances in the Ohio state playoffs, and own a 42-18 record. Before Ohio had a state playoff system, they crowned state champions by an end-of-season poll. The Big Red won six total “polled” state championships, including five in a span from 1925 to 1935.

Perhaps even more impressively, Steubenville has won over 700 games, and more than 300 of them have come via the shutout.

The Big Red return a very capable senior field general in Dwight Macon who has accumulated over 6,100 yards of offense in his career and has accounted for 57 total touchdowns. On defense, Shaq Pettaway leads the way after a 116-tackle season. Pettaway also recovered four fumbles.

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