Trib HS Insider Q&A: Woodland Hills' Cody McClelland
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Playing for a program that is traditionally strong in its rushing attack and has featured its share of dual-threat quarterbacks, ranging from Shawntae Spencer to Steve Breaston to Pat Menifee, Woodland Hills senior quarterback Cody McClelland is a pro-style passer who has convinced veteran coach George Novak to put some more air in the offense.
McClelland has completed 68 of 149 passes this season for 1,370 yards and 17 touchdowns and leads the seventh-seeded Wolverines into the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs against No. 10 North Hills.
Q: You're the quarterback for Woodland Hills and have a playoff game at the Wolvarena. No pressure there, right?
A: Funny thing is, my first career start was on the road last year in Altoona. And my first start this season was on the road, and that's a good thing. I can't tell you how nervous you get when you're starting at the Wolvarena in front of so many people who know who you are.
Q: So you're saying you're not happy about having a home playoff game this week?
A: No, no, no. It's different now. I'm used to it, and now I don't want to play anywhere else but home. I have to say playing at the Wolvarena is pretty cool. That home-field advantage thing that people talk about is so true. Teams don't like coming to our place. The parking stinks, but other than that, it's the best.
Q: The Wolvarena is a legendary venue and George Novak is a legendary coach. How has he helped you mature into a quality quarterback?
A: He's probably the best role model I've ever had while playing sports. Being around him has been an incredible help. He's a really good person.
Q: You didn't start playing football until you reached high school. What changed your mind about the sport?
A: I started with soccer. That didn't work. I played baseball, and I love baseball. My friends always tried to get me to play football. My uncle Jason works at the school, and he introduced me to Coach Novak my freshman year. Things just went from there.
Q: How quickly did the game become second nature to you?
A: Well, I wouldn't exactly say I'm running the show out there. Coach Novak is still the guy calling the plays and that kind of stuff. But, over time, I do feel like the coaches have more confidence in me, and I have more confidence in myself.
Q: Is Woodland Hills ready to make a playoff run?
A: I really hope so, and I definitely think we're playing our best football of the season right now. You can see the team really coming together.
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