Woodland Hills coach George Novak has a good chance to reach a milestone this week that only two other WPIAL WPIAL coaches have achieved.
Meanwhile, another one of Novak's former players has made the NFL.
Quinton Jefferson, a former defensive end at Woodland Hills, has made the Seattle Seahawks as a defensive lineman. Jefferson played at the University of Maryland and was a fifth-round draft pick of the Seahawks. He is the 11th player from Woodland Hills to make the NFL. Woodland Hills' first football season was 1987 and Novak is the only coach in the history of the school.
As for Jefferson, my how players can change! When he was a junior at Woodland Hills, he weighed 200 pounds. He added 25 pounds for his senior season, but was still a wiry 6-4, 225-pound defensive end. These days, he's a 6-4, 291-pound defensive tackle for the Seahawks.
Just check out the before and after pictures of Jefferson, from his senior year to today. I think you can tell which one is before.
As stated, Novak has now produced 11 players who have made the NFL, and three are still active. They are Jefferson, New England TE Rob Gronkowski and New York Jets DB Rontez Miles. Plus, rookie Lafayette Pitts made the Miami Dolphins practice squad as a rookie. So, technically Pitts has not made the NFL yet as an active player. Maybe he will in the future.
The other Woodland Hills players who made the NFL are: DB Darrin Walls (cut the other day by the Detroit Lions), WR Steve Breaston, DB Ryan Mundy, DB Terence Johnson, RB Lousaka Polite, DB Shawntae Spencer, FB-LB-TE Chris Edmonds and DE Jason Taylor. Taylor was the first to make the NFL. Breaston, by the way, coaches receivers at Woodland Hills. I think that's fantastic, a player of Breaston's stature comes back and coaches at his alma mater. Says something about him - and Novak.
There is a mural hanging in a frame on the wall outside of George Novak's Woodland Hills athletic office of some of the players who have made the NFL.
Nothing like this mural exists anywhere else in the WPIAL. So many NFL players in about three decades of a school. Six years ago, Woodland Hills had six alums on opening day rosters. That was the most of any high school in the country.
Now, back to Novak.
Woodland Hills plays Fox Chapel Friday and Novak is a good bet to become only the third coach in WPIAL history to win 300 games. The others are Jim Render and Joe Hamilton. Only 13 coaches in state history have won 300 games.
Novak's record is 299-136-1. He started his head coaching career at Steel Valley in 1977. Look for a profile of Novak in Friday's Varsity Xtra.
Brown to Robert Morris
The Robert Morris football team picked up another WPIAL recruit when Apollo-Ridge's Duane Brown announced on Twitter that he was committing to the Colonials. Brown is a talented running back-defensive back who played QB as a sophomore. He has not played yet this season because of a torn ACL sustained in the spring.
North Allegheny has a big game Friday against Central Catholic. One of the big keys might be who is NOT playing.
A few top North Allegheny players exited Friday's game with injuries. No word from coach Art Walker on who will be out but sources say tight end-defensive lineman Griffin Sestilli is out. Quarterback Ethan Maenza left the game last week with an injury and his status is questionable. North Allegheny is in big trouble if Maenza doesn't play. He is the heart and soul of the Tigers' offense with his running and passing. Even if Maenza plays, you wonder if Maenza will be 100 percent.