SAN ANTONIO - High School teammates have made the U.S. Army All-American Bowl together in the past, but never before has anything happened like we've seen on the 2008 West roster.
This year's West team has six different high schools from California, Colorado, Utah, Texas and Arizona that have multiple players from the same team in this year's U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame actually has three players on this year's West team, in quarterback Dayne Crist, linebacker Anthony McDonald and defensive lineman Wes Horton.
Anaheim (Calif.) Servite has two representatives on this year's squad, in five-star offensive lineman Matt Kalil and five-star athlete D.J. Shoemate. Servite has a long tradition of producing U.S. Army All-Americans. Last year's MVP Chris Galippo played for Servite as well.
Like Galippo, Servite and Kalil will play their college ball at USC. The three have been playing football together ever since their days in the junior All-American league when they played for the Corona Chargers coached by Kalil's father.
"We've been playing together for a long time," Kalil said. "We were on the same junior All-American team, the same high school team, we are going to the same college and we were all at the same all-star game.
"Me, D.J. and Chris are also all going to room together next year at SC. It's pretty cool just growing up together doing all the same stuff together, and then getting to play in a game like this."
Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton running back Covaughn DeBoskie and defensive back Gerell Robinson are the two players representing Arizona this week in San Antonio.
ALL-AMERICAN H.S. TEAMMATES
Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
Dayne Crist, QB
Anthony McDonald, LB
Wes Horton, DE
Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
Matt Kalil, OT
D.J. Shoemate, ATH
Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton
Gerell Robinson, ATH
David Snow, OT
Justin Johnson, ATH
Denver (Colo.) Mullen
Bryce Givens, OL
South Jordan (Utah)
Austin Holt, TE
From the Lone Star state, Gilmer (Texas) offensive lineman David Snow and running back Justin Johnson both made this year's game.
Last year, Curtis Brown from Gilmer also made the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. When you put in perspective that Gilmer is just a 3-A school with 697 students, it's pretty amazing that they've had three representatives in San Antonio over the last two years. Snow said the buzz in Gilmer for this year's Army Bowl was as big as he's ever seen it before.
"Any time you get this type of an honor, people are going to get excited," Snow said. "It was just a great honor to receive."
"Justin and I get to come here before we go off to rival schools. I'm going to Texas and he's going to Oklahoma."
When Denver (Colo.) Mullen teammates Bryce Givens and Nolan Brewster were first nominated as potential candidates for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the two didn't even think it was a possibility they both could make the game.
In fact, Givens said he expected to be the one left out of the game and he was surprised they both got selected.
"During the summer we were thinking only one of us was going to make the game," Givens said. "I didn't really know if I was going to make it, because he was more of a high-profile guy than I am. I'm just excited that both of us our here and we both have the opportunity to play.
"I found out first that I made it and I asked Nolan if he had heard from them. He was like 'I found out the same day.' We found out separately, but it was right around the same time. We were just both real happy we got the opportunity."
For South Jordan (Utah) tight end Austin Holt and kicker Justin Sorensen, the two never thought they'd make the U.S. Army Bowl, let alone have two from the same school.
Before this year, Utah only had two Army All-Americans in the previous seven years. This year, Utah has three players on the West roster and Holt and Sorensen are the first ever BYU commits to play in the Army All-American Bowl.
"It was pretty exciting for kids from Utah just to make this game, but then to have two from the same high school is pretty cool," Holt said. "People were talking about this a lot and we had a pretty big assembly for it."
Sorenson was a late add-on to the game, because things fell through with some other kickers. Growing up in Utah, he remembers watching some of the earlier U.S. Army All-American Bowls, but he never thought in a million years he'd be participating in the game some day.
"Our families are all coming down together," Sorenson said. "Our families are all good friends and they've known each other for a long time.
"I never thought I could play in this game. It still hasn't set in that I'm playing on Saturday. It's a dream come true."