CHURCHILL, Pa. - Millions of kids play high school football every year, but only 0.09 percent actually reach the NFL.
In its brief history of 32 seasons, Woodland Hills High Sschool has produced 14 NFL players. Established in 1987 after the merger of three school districts, former head coach George Novak had the task of getting the program off the ground.
“To us here at Woodland Hills, it’s more than the game,” Novak said. “It’s a way of life.”
Winning started year one for the Wolverines and became a staple under Novak, but the program took a huge leap when the head coach stumbled upon a kid named Jason Taylor while driving home from work one day.
“He didn’t even know how to put his helmet on,” Novak said with a smile. “He had no idea about equipment or playing football.”
Fifteen NFL seasons later, Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Novak kept piling up the pros.
He says he was fortunate and “blessed” for the talent he coached over his 30 seasons, but even more so for what it meant to the community.
“Wherever I go and I run into people, they always want to talk about our players.”
For Woodland Hills, football is clearly more than just a game.
“It was my life,” Novak said. “It’s what I do. All I ever wanted to do was coach football.”
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