Did you ever wonder how you would rank the top high school football players in WPIAL history? How about coaches? Or toughest places to play?
So did the staff at the TribLive High School Sports Network.
Trib HSSN has ranked the top 7 high school football players in WPIAL history by position based on their performance during their scholastic careers.
No. 3 — Wolvarena, Woodland Hills
For many years known as Turtle Creek Stadium, it was rechristened The Wolvarena in 1987 when Woodland Hills High School began operations.
The stadium was built in 1942, just when the original Turtle Creek High School had come off a 9-0-0 season in 1941.
The stadium seats 12,500, with the unique feature of the side of seats built into the hillside. The close seats are less than 10 yards from the field, with no track around the grid.
A star in the stadium’s early days was Leon Hart, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy in 1949 while at Notre Dame. At the time, Turtle Creek played in the largest enrollment classification, doing so until 1961. During the 1960s, however, rapidly shrinking enrollment forced the Creekers to drop two classifications in five years.
In 1971, Turtle Creek absorbed East Pittsburgh High School and was known as the Turtle Creek Area Eagles and again played at the same stadium.
The old park became rejuvenated in 1987 when Woodland Hills took over. With a coat of black and turquoise paint, the new Wolverines won their first home game at the Wolvarena over Shaler, 27-0, on Sept. 12.
From 1993 to 2001, Woodland Hills had a 40-2 record (.952 pct) at the Wolvarena. No one was surprised in 2001 when USA Today dubbed the field one of the 10 toughest places to play in the country.
Lights were added in the late 1990s.
In 2007, an $8 million facelift included installation of artificial turf, rebuilt concession stands, renovated bleachers and lockers rooms, along with a paved parking lot.
In 2017, the playing surface was named in honor of retiring coach George Novak.