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Wednesday February 8 2023
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U.S. Steel Game of the Week: Baldwin at Woodland Hills

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Woodland Hills started their season in unexpected fashion, with back-to-back losses that left the team stunned at 0-2. But the Wolverines are back over .500 with a 3-2 record and looking to extend their winning streak to four games against Baldwin (2-3, 2-3) in Week 6.

Woodland Hills opened with a 16-10 upset loss to Upper St. Clair at the Wolvarena, and lost again the following week on the road to McKeesport, 33-20, in the Tigers’ Homecoming Game.

Since, though, the Wolverines have responded with a 38-23 win at Bethel Park, a 51-0 shutout of Plum, and a 48-10 triumph over Mount Lebanon last week to pull their conference record to 3-1. While Baldwin enters Friday’s game with a losing record, Woodland Hills head coach George Novak recognizes the level of competition they will bring to the Wolverena.

“Every team in our conference is very competitive,” Novak said. “Baldwin had an impressive win against Mount Lebanon, and played well at USC.”

As the Wolverines vie for the top of the district, Novak also recognizes the importance of this game as the calendar flips into October and WPIAL Playoffs draw nearer.

“We take each game one at a time,” Novak said. “This is a very important game.”

Baldwin enters Friday’s game coming off a 44-0 loss to Upper St. Clair, the same squad that started Woodland Hills’ season with a loss. But Novak isn’t counting out the ability of the Highlanders’ defense despite allowing nearly 28 points per game.

“Defensively, they’ve played very tough at times,” Novak said. “Last week they made a couple of mistakes and Upper St. Clair took advantage.”

Between each of the Highlanders’ three losses are wins this season, which would entail a victory over the Wolverines if the pattern continues to play out. Novak cites the experience and size of Baldwin as factors that could work against his team this week.

“They have a lot of guys that played last year on both sides of the ball,” Novak said. “They have some nice-sized kids.”

When the Wolverines are on defense, Novak anticipates a varied offensive attack from Baldwin.

“The mix it up pretty well offensively. They’ll spread you out and throw, then run the ball well,” Novak said. “They’re not one-dimensional so it makes it tough to prepare.”

The largest threat will come in the form of junior quarterback Doug Altavilla, who Novak calls an outstanding passer.

From Week 5 to Week 6, Novak looks for his team to just keep improving.USS

“We’ve got to see some improvement on special teams,” Novak said. “There are a couple areas we’ve got to improve in.”

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