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Without Division I prospect, Woodland Hills hoping to adapt quickly

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:30 p.m.
Woodland Hills senior outside linebacker Jawan Turner goes through drills. Ronald Vezzani Jr./ for the Daily News
Woodland Hills senior wide receiver Tom Green Sr. is expected to have a big impact this year.Ronald Vezzani Jr./ for the Daily News
Woodland Hills coach George Novak leads his team through drills. Ronald Vezzani Jr./ for the Daily News

Woodland Hills always seems to find a way to replace star players lost to graduation.

Things might be different in 2012.

A pair of third-year starters — senior linebacker Alex Beasley and senior lineman Jawan Turner — are among the few who are drawing collegiate attention for a program that, in 2011, had more players in the NFL than all but St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida.

“They're both 6-footers, which probably is a big reason why they're not recruited as much,” Woodland Hills coach George Novak said. “They're both very talented players and they're leaders, and they're going to be two of our top guys.”

Woodland Hills finished last season on a disappointing three-game losing streak, including a 28-21 loss to Mt. Lebanon in the opening round of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.

Things won't be much easier in 2012 after graduation gutted much of the team, and the Wolverines didn't have an opportunity to play younger players last season. That means Woodland Hills players will have to garner their much-needed game experience on the fly.

“We don't have a lot of experience on the offensive and defensive lines for the first time in a long time,” Novak said. “We have some experience at the skill positions, and it's kind of unique here because we do have a lot of competition at our skill positions.”

One player who has already earned his starting job is senior wide receiver Tom Greene, who played opposite University of Cincinnati freshman Shakim Alonzo in 2011. Greene only caught six passes for 56 yards last season.

“I think Tom learned from Shakim and just waited his turn because Shakim and (former quarterback Pat Menifee) had a special relationship because he always looked for Shakim first,” Novak said. “Now, Cody (McClelland) is looking at him most of the time, and they're starting to have that same relationship.”

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