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Long Beach Poly boasts six former players in the NFL

September 28, 2007|Lauren Peterson | Times Staff Writer

Perennial high school football powerhouses Long Beach Poly and Concord De La Salle are making an impact on the sport that reaches well beyond the prep level, according to figures released Thursday by USA Football, the sport's national governing body.

Each school boasted six former players -- the most among high schools nationwide -- who were on 2007 opening-weekend rosters in the NFL.

Since the season began, another Poly alumnus was added to an NFL roster when Omar Stoutmire was re-signed by Washington, after being cut before opening day, to shore up the Redskins' defensive backfield.

"We are proud of them because when you get to that level, it's hard to make it," Poly Coach Raul Lara said.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, September 29, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 32 words Type of Material: Correction
Football: A headline in Friday's Sports section with an article about perennial high school football powerhouses said that six former Long Beach Poly players are now on NFL rosters. There are seven.

"A lot of it has to do with desire, hard work and getting better once they go on."

The only other schools in California -- the state with the most players in the NFL with 209 on opening weekend -- to have at least four representatives in the league were Tustin and Los Angeles Crenshaw.

Former Long Beach Poly players with opening-day roster spots were offensive tackle Winston Justice and linebacker Pago Togafau with Philadelphia, tight end Marcedes Lewis of Jacksonville, linebacker Willie McGinest of Cleveland, receiver Samie Parker of Kansas City and defensive tackle Manuel Wright with the New York Giants.

Tustin's representatives are center Chris Chester of Baltimore, running back DeShaun Foster of Carolina, defensive end Frostee Rucker of Cincinnati and linebacker Matt McCoy of Philadelphia.

Crenshaw products are Indianapolis cornerback Dante Hughes, who went by his first name, Daymeion, while in high school and college; defensive tackle Brandon Mebane of Seattle, and brothers Kabeer and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, who are tackles with Green Bay and Miami, respectively.

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lauren.peterson@latimes.com

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