TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Hours of practice, years of sacrifice and a whole lot of natural talent is what it takes to make the NFL.

“I just fell in love with the sport of football so you know, ever since about 10 years old,” said Blake Lynch, the Minnesota Vikings linebacker.

East Texas natives Blake Lynch and Kris Boyd worked hard throughout high school and college to get to where they are now, playing on the Minnesota Vikings.

“It’s like you have a part of you that’s there and so that’s rewarding and exciting,” said Alan Metzel, Gilmer High School head football coach,” said Alan Metzel, head football coach of Gilmer High School.

Coach Metzel remembered what it was like working with the two former Gilmer players; two young meant his current teammates look up to now.

“We’ve got pictures in the hall of them and they’re following them you know they check their progress and so yes definitely they want to grow up and be like those guys.”

Alan Metzel, Head football coach of gilmer high school

For Boyd and Lynch, it all started on Gilmer’s football field and now they’re living their dreams and making East Texas proud.

“People from you know, Troup, Tyler, Gilmer, you know Longview, you know to message me all the time about they’re keeping up with me so you know just to be able to make you know my family and friends proud back at home, that’s something special to me,” said Lynch.

Boyd, the Vikings cornerback said representing such a great place like East Texas for football is much a priority over anything.

KETK’s Lauren Margolis Facetimed Boyd with Ernest Quander, a man who probably knows him better than anyone.

“He never quit, he never gave up even with the odds stacked against him,” said Quander.

Quander is a father figure to Boyd, who took on that role at just 23 years old.

He was a coach when they met and said it was an instant connection.

“He was going into his freshman year and it started from him hey take me home to us going to get food to us just building a real bond,” said Quander.

10 years later, Quander said seeing Boyd reach his goal is a special feeling.

“You know, he’s loud cuz he plays with passion and but that’s what makes him who he is, like that’s the reason he got to where he is right now,” added Quander.

And a special message to fellow East Texans with a dream:

“Just to mention to everybody back home in East Texas that you know anything is possible…with consistency and hard work you can reach your dreams,” added Lynch.

The pair give it their all on the field every game for the place that will always be home.