Longview residents will have a strong rooting interest when they turn on their TVs for the 5:30 p.m. kickoff of Sunday’s NFC Championship Game between the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Rams and sixth-seeded San Francisco 49ers at Inglewood, California’s SoFi Stadium.

That’s because 49ers’ offensive tackle Trent Williams and running back JaMycal Hasty are former Longview football players like Rams’ linebacker Travin Howard. Depending on the outcome of the game, one or two of the Lobos also will compete in the same stadium in next month’s Super Bowl.

“It’s exciting for East Texas and Lobo Nation,” said Longview athletic director and head football coach John King, who has coached all three of the players. “We’ve seen these kids grow up on the gridiron in Longview, and then progress through college to get to this stage in their careers. There’s a reason why they’re there.”

The three players have paved unique paths all the way to successful football careers, but they can all credit a similar start. They all attended Longview ISD’s Foster Middle School and played multiple sports at Longview High School.

“I’ll say this about all three of those kids,” said King. “They were all multi-sport athletes at Longview High School. They were heavily involved in the success that we had in our athletic program. For young kids that have dreams of playing in the NFL, I think you can follow their model and see multi-sport athletes being developed in terms of motor skills and physical development. That’s what NFL teams look for.”