By Kevin Askeland
While the Super Bowl XLIII will be played in Tampa, Fla., this year, it will definitely have some California flavor.
Alumni from the high school football powerhouse states of California, Florida and Texas dominate the rosters of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals with the three states combining for 37 players in this year's contest. California leads the way with 14 players while Florida has 12 and Texas 11.
The state with the most interesting angle in the Super Bowl, however, is Hawaii, which boasts a pair of Kahuku High School teammates in Aaron Francisco and Chris Kemoeatu. Francisco, a safety for the Cardinals, and Kemoeatu, an offensive lineman for the Steelers, were members of the 2000 Kahuku team that won the state championship. Both teammates were all-state players with Kemoeatu earning state defensive player of the year honors.
California’s representatives are spread throughout the state with large and small schools both being represented along with the North and the South. Long Beach Poly, which has sent more players to the NFL than any other high school in the nation, also has a player in the game in linebacker Pago Togafau of the Cardinals.
Here’s a look at the alma mater for each member of the Steelers and the Cardinals.
Michael Adams – Justin Kimball, Dallas, Texas
JJ Arrington – Northern Nash, Rocky Mount, N.C.
Monty Beisel – Douglass, Kan.
Bertrand Berry – Humble, Texas
Anquan Boldin – Pahokee, Fla.
Alan Branch – Cibola, Albuquerque, N.M.
Steve Breaston – Woodland Hills, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Elton Brown – Heritage, Newport News, Va.
Levi Brown – Granby, Norfolk, Va.
Ralph Brown – Bishop Amat, La Puente, Calif.
Calais Campbell, South, Denver, Colo.
Tim Castille – Briarwood Christian School, Birmingham, Ala.
Karlos Dansby – Woodlawn, Birmingham, Ala.
Darnell Dockett – Paint Branch, Burtonsville, Md.
Early Doucet – St. Martinville, La.
Larry Fitzgerald – Academy of the Holy Angels, Richfield, Minn.
Aaron Francisco – Kahuku, Hawaii
Mike Gandy – Garland, Texas
Ben Graham – Newcomb Sec. Coll., Australia
Eric Green – Clewiston, Fla.
Clark Haggans – Peninsula, Torrance, Calif.
Gerald Hayes – Passaic County Technical Institute, Paterson, N.J.
Ali Highsmith – Miami Central, Fla.
Tim Hightower – Episcopal, Alexandria, Va.
Victor Hobson – St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, Pa.
Nathan Hodel – Belleville East, Ill.
Roderick Hood – Carver, Columbus, Ga.
Kenny Iwebema – James Bowie, Arlington, Texas
Edgerrin James – Immokalee, Fla.
Brandon Keith – McAlester, Okla.
Travis LaBoy – Marin Catholic, Kentfield, Calif.
Matt Leinart – Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif.
Deuce Lutui – Mesa, Ariz.
Sean Morey – Marshfield, Mass.
Chike Okeafor – West Lafayette, Ind.
Ben Patrick – Herschel Jenkins, Savannah, Ga.
Scott Peters – Amador Valley, Pleasanton, Calif.
Leonard Pope – Americus, Ga.
Neil Rackers – Aquinas Mercy, Florissant, Mo.
Bryan Robinson – Woodward, Toledo, Ohio
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Fla.
Antrel Rolle – South Dade, Homestead, Fla.
Pat Ross – St. Xavier, Cincinnati, Ohio
Lyle Sendlein – Chaparral, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Antonio Smith – John Marshall, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Terrell Smith – Canyon Springs, Moreno Valley, Calif.
Stephen Spach, Clovis, Calif.
Brian St. Pierre – St. John’s Prep, Danvers, Mass.
Pago Togafau – Poly, Long Beach, Calif.
Jerame Tuman – Liberal, Kan.
Jerheme Urban – Stroman, Victoria, Texas
Elliot Vallejo – Palma, Salinas, Calif.
Matt Ware – Loyola, Los Angeles, Calif.
Kurt Warner – Regis, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Gabe Watson – Southfield, Mich.
Reggie Wells – South Park, Library, Pa.
Adrian Wilson – T. Wingate Andrews, High Point, N.C.
Patrick Bailey – Alamo Heights, San Antonio, Texas
Charlie Batch – Steel Valley, Munhall, Pa.
Mitch Berger – North Delta, Vancouver, Canada
Fernando Bryant – Riverdale, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Jason Capizzi – Pine-Richland, Penn.
Tyrone Carter – Ely, Pomano Beach, Fla.
Ryan Clark – Shaw, Marrero, La.
Kyle Clement – Hudsonville, Mich.
Willie Colon – Cardinal Hayes, Bronx, N.Y.
Bruce Davis – Clear Creek, League City, Texas
Carey Davis - Hazelwood Central, Florissant, Mo.
Jon Dekker - Thomas More, Milwaukee, Wis.
Dennis Dixon - San Leandro, Calif.
Nick Eason – Toombs County, Lyons, Ga.
Trai Essex – Paul Harding, Fort Wayne, Ind.
James Farrior – Matoaca, Ettrick, Va.
Larry Foote – Pershing, Detroit, Mich.
Keyaron Fox – Westlake, Atlanta, Ga.
Andre Frazier – Hughes, Cincinnati, Ohio
William Gay - James R. Rickards, Tallahassee, Fla.
Casey Hampton – Ball, Galveston, Texas
Arnold Harrison – Josey, Augusta, Ga.
James Harrison – Coventry, Akron, Ohio
Justin Hartwig – Valley, West Des Moines, Iowa
Tony Hills – Alief Elsik, Houston, Texas
Chris Hoke – Foothill, Santa Ana, Calif.
Santonio Holmes, Glades Central, Belle Glade, Fla.
Mike Humpal – New Hampton, Iowa
Brett Keisel – Greybull, Wyoming
Chris Kemoeatu - Kahuku, Hawaii
Travis Kirschke - Esperanza, Anaheim, Calif.
Byron Leftwich - Howard Woodson, Washington, DC
Anthony Madison - Thomasville, Ala.
Bryant McFadden – McArthur, Hollywood, Fla.
Sean McHugh – Chargin Falls, Ohio
Rashard Mendenhall - Niles West, Skokie, Ill.
Heath Miller - Honaker, Va.
Mewelde Moore – Belaire, Baton Rouge, La.
Willie Parker – Clinton, N.C.
Jeremy Parquet – Destrehan, La.
Scott Paxson - Roman Catholic, Philadelphia, Pa.
Troy Polamalu – Douglas, Winston, Ore.
Jeff Reed – East Mecklenburg, Charlotte, N.C.
Jared Retkofsky – Northwest, Justin, Texas
Ben Roethlisberger – Findlay, Ohio
Orpheus Roye – Miami Springs, Fla.
Gary Russell – Walnut Ridge, Columbus, Ohio
Daniel Sepulveda – Highland Park, Dallas, Texas
Kendall Simmons – Ripley, Miss.
Aaron Smith – Sierra, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Anthony Smith – Hubbard, Ohio
Marvel Smith – Skyline, Oakland, Calif.
Matt Spaeth – St. Michael-Albertville, St. Michael, Minn.
Darnell Stapleton – Union, N.J.
Max Starks – Lake Highland Prep, Fla.
Limas Sweed – Brenham, Texas
Ike Taylor – Marion Abramson, New Orleans, La.
Lawrence Timmons – Wilson, Florence, S.C.
Deshea Townsend – South Panola, Batesville, Miss.
Hines Ward – Forest Park, Ga.
Greg Warren – Southern Wayne, Dudley, N.C.
Nate Washington – Jesup W. Scott, Toledo, Ohio
LaMarr Woodley – Saginaw, Mich.