It will be quite a dilemma for South Tahoe football fans to decide who to root for Sunday as the New York Jets take on the San Francisco 49ers at 10 a.m.
On one hand it's the 49ers, and their fans are aplenty in these parts. On the other, how many South Tahoe kids have made it to the NFL?
The answer is one, and his name is Garrett McIntyre.
McIntyre was raised on 49ers football, and come Sunday he will likely be lining up against his boyhood team in his third start this season as his NFL career continues to pick up steam.
"We all grew up as 49ers' fan so it's going to be cool to play the team I grew up watching," McIntyre said. "They're a stacked team. They've got tons of talent on both sides of the ball so it's definitely going to be a challenge for us."
San Francisco is a challenge, but during the past two weeks McIntyre proved he's ready. The outside linebacker made his first start of the season two weeks ago when regular starter Bryan Thomas pulled his hamstring. The Jets took on the Steelers, and McIntyre showed up.
The former Viking caught Ben Roethlisberger low to put his first NFL sack in the books.
"I just got him by his legs," McIntyre said. "I kind of barely got him so I didn't even know if I got it at first."
It counted alright, and there was no question the second sack counted too as McIntyre hauled Big Ben down once again to stifle Pittsburgh's drive. He came away with two sacks and seven tackles against the Steelers.
"It was probably one of my best career performances ever as far as stats go," McIntyre said. "After the game you can feel good about that, but it's short-lived because you've got to move on quickly. You've just kind of got to have a short memory."
McIntyre isn't the type to dwell anyway, and with the 49ers on deck he is concentrating on what's ahead more than ever. His Sunday start is still up in the air though since it is unclear if Thomas will recover in time for game day.
"I'm going to go through the week assuming I'm starting and preparing like I'm starting," McIntyre said. "If he's good to go, I'm sure he'll be in the mix. We'll probably have a rotation going, which is good because we could have used him last week when we were in Miami."
The Jets barely squeaked out a 23-20 win against the Dolphins last week, and once again McIntyre did a solid job filling in.
"He's one of those guys who, we always say, 'plays like a Jet,' and that's what he does. He's a ball of energy and I think that's good for us," Rex Ryan said of McIntyre, according to thejetreport.com.
McIntyre doesn't get many chances, but when he does he shows up. Coming through at a moment's notice is a role McIntyre comfortably plays.
Back when McIntyre was a redshirt, walk-on at Fresno State, he didn't see many starts. He didn't see much playing time either, for that matter, not until near the end of the season when Fresno's defensive end was injured on the first play of the game. McIntyre rode the bench most of the season, but delivered a performance that earned him player of the game when he came out that day.
"At the end of the game, we walked out with this humongous trophy. We couldn't believe it," McIntyre's mom, Monique McIntyre, said. "I still have it, and we didn't even think he was going to play and from that point on he became their starter."
Monique McIntyre will be at the New York game Sunday and there is no question she will root for her son's team instead of her old favorite. Of course in a perfect world she wouldn't have to pick.
"My ultimate dream is that the niners watch Garrett and then when he becomes a free agent they think, oh, we want that boy," Monique McIntyre said.
That scenario would probably make things easier for everyone in South Tahoe.