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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 28, 2006

Kahuku ties for most NFL players

Advertiser Staff

Aaron Francisco

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Chris Kemoeatu

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Ma'ake Kemoeatu

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Itula Mili

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Chris Naeole

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Defending state champion Kahuku is tied with four other high schools with the most players on NFL rosters, USA Football announced.

The five Kahuku products are Aaron Francisco (Arizona Cardinals), Chris Kemoeatu (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ma'ake Kemoeatu (Carolina Panthers), Itula Mili (Seattle Seahawks) and Chris Naeole (Jacksonville Jaguars).

Kahuku is tied with two Florida schools Dillard of Fort Lauderdale and Ely of Pompano Beach and two California schools Dorsey (Los Angeles) and Long Beach Poly.

The totals are based on the 1,695-man rosters that started the season.

Kahuku, which has won four of the past six state football titles, had six players in the NFL last year.

"We came from a small community and that's all there is there is football," Francisco, who played at Brigham Young University, told USA Football. "That's everyone's life there. It's shocking to me that we're tied for first. I had no idea."

"It's a big tradition where I'm from," said Naeole, who played at the University of Colorado. "Kahuku is on the North Shore and it has the whole community pride like other schools, but it's a little bit more. Everyone comes out to support the team.

"I've been gone a while, but the name is still the same. I go back there and they just keep pumping out kids. My nephew came out this year and got a scholarship. Everyone there is strong-minded. There are a lot of Polynesians in the league from all over Hawai'i."

California led all states, producing the most NFL players (206), followed by Florida (177) and Texas (175). No other state has more than 100. Hawai'i has more than 20 in the NFL.

The University of Hawai'i, whose representatives include Jason Elam, Vince Manuwai, Pisa Tinoisamoa and Jeff Ulbrich, also has produced one of three players from American Samoa (San Francisco's Isa'ako Sopoaga) and one of two from Australia (Dallas' Mat McBriar).