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Woodland Hills has plans to return to Heinz Field

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

A strange thing happened at Woodland Hills in 2012. For the first time in what seemed like an eternity, the Wolverines, who a couple of years ago had more players in the NFL than any school in the country, didn't have a Division I FBS recruit on its roster.

It didn't matter in the end.

The Wolverines found a way to get on a roll at the right time and make it to the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game at Heinz Field.

This year, things are back to normal at the Wolvarena as two players — defensive back Harry Randall and wide receiver Trevon Mathis — are getting college looks, and the team is considered a title contender.

“The guys that are coming back from last year, whether they're Division I or II, you expect them to be your leaders and they lead by example,” Woodland Hills coach George Novak said. “It doesn't just take the kids with Division I offers. It takes a whole team to be leaders, and that's what I've seen out of this senior class.”

Randall, projected to be a safety in college, was supposed to be one of the team's top running backs in 2012, but injuries limited him to four games. Despite that, he was second on the team with 28 carries for 307 yards and two touchdowns.

Mathis is being recruited as a wide receiver but also was a defensive standout in 2012, leading the team with three interceptions.

“Just looking at them over the summer, I could see that they're bigger, faster and stronger,” Novak said. “They're focused. They know what they have to do, and I don't think that it puts any more pressure on them being looked at by Division I schools.”

Randall could get the added pressure of being the team's starting quarterback as he battled with sophomore Jeremiah Jones in camp. Whichever player lines up under center in the season opener against Upper St. Clair will be the third signal-caller for the Wolverines in as many years.

Both also will have to develop a rapport with sophomore running back Miles Sanders, who had a stellar season cut short in the playoffs because of an injury.

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