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February 3, 2013
Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
Super Bowl XLVII could provide another example of sports bringing an olive branch to even the most heated rivalry.
The 24,000 neighboring residents of Pahokee and Belle Glade in Florida -- an area near Lake Okeechobee that is more known more for its black, gritty mud and sugarcane fields than anything -- are always on opposites sides of The Muck Bowl but will be joined and proudly lauding their Super Bowl participants.
Taking up for Pahokee (Fla.) High will be Anquan Boldin and Pernell McPhee, while Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central will boast Ray McDonald, Damion Berry, and Deonte Thompson.
All but McDonald play for the Ravens. The four teammates could bind the two communities.
The football stadium in Pahokee is named after Boldin, who is one of the most decorated players to come from The Muck -- a school that has been home to Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson and Andre Waters.
The last time the two areas were mutually invested in the Super Bowl was when Boldin was on the Arizona Cardinals and Santonio Holmes was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was an easy split on which high school would claim which professional franchise.
This year both could come together, united for the first time in a long time.
"Stars" of the game
Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco will lead their teams onto the field for the Super Bowl.
When the two signal barkers were preparing to exit high school, they were not projected to hoist the Lombardi Trophy as a champion. Each was rated a three-star player.
Kaepernick was primarily a baseball player out of Turlock (Calf.) Pitman and had only one college football offer.
Flacco went to Pittsburgh from Audubon (N.J.) High and battled Tyler Palko for the starting job. He lost the contest -- and favor with the coaches -- before transferring to Delaware.
Now the focal points of each team's offense could go from underrated recruit to world champion.
SEC ? SEC ?
The power conference of college football is again the most represented in the Super Bowl.
There will be 21 players representing the current alignment of SEC schools, narrowly edging the ACC (18) and the Big Ten (16).
With new conference alignment adding players to the SEC tally from Missouri, the victory song can be sung.
The two conferences are boosted by the players coming from their localized states.
Florida leads all states with former high school players in the game with 21. It beats Texas (16), California (12), Ohio (6) and Georgia (5).
Three players in the game did not play high school football in the United States.