It's not surprising that Cal Poly linebacker Johnny Millard and Diablo Valley College defensive end Kyle Kragen basically eat, sleep and drink football.

The sport is practically in their DNA.

Their dads were Pleasanton high school football rivals in the late 1970s -- Keith Millard at Foothill and Greg Kragen at Amador Valley -- who went on to play major college football and have noteworthy NFL careers.

As for Johnny and Kyle, they are making their own marks.

Kyle Kragen, a San Ramon Valley High graduate, ranks fifth in the state with 9.5 sacks through eight games for DVC and has a scholarship offer from Wyoming. He's also planning trips to Illinois and Ohio.

Johnny Millard, a Foothill High graduate, is a three-year starter who ranks third on the Mustangs team with 48 total tackles this season despite missing a game with a minor medial collateral ligament tear in his knee. The junior outside linebacker had eight tackles in last week's 35-29 upset loss to Sacramento State in the Big Sky Conference, Cal Poly's first defeat of the season.

Predictably, Kyle and Johnny's football dads are still involved in the game.

Keith Millard is a defensive assistant coach/pass rush specialist with the Tennessee Titans. Greg Kragen is a volunteer assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Raiders.

Kyle and Johnny have close relationships with their dads. Plus, the sons can break down game film like old pros.

"I've actually held on to all of his old helmets," Kyle Kragen said of Greg. "We've got a bunch of the old game tapes, and I'll either watch them with him or I'll watch on my own. Sometimes he'll talk about technique and stuff, what he's doing on certain plays."

He's learning from one of the best.

Known for his great technique, Greg Kragen, a former nose tackle, had a 13-year NFL career with the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers. He accumulated 28.5 sacks, played in the 1989 Pro Bowl and in three Super Bowls.

Keith Millard was the 1989 NFL Defensive Player of the Year with the Minnesota Vikings, a two-time Pro Bowl selection and an All-Pro three times. His 18 sacks in 1989 stamped him as a Vikings great.

Johnny Millard spends time each offseason working out with his dad, who has also coached with the Broncos and Raiders, among other stops.

"We talk every other day," Johnny Millard said recently. "He's my dad. He's like my best friend, too. We talk about football so much, constantly sharing stories."

Greg Kragen and Keith Millard, who both made the All-Madden Team multiple times, have remained friends through the years, sharing a mutual respect.

"We grew up together," said Keith Millard, who also played at Washington State. "We went to Harvest Park (Elementary) together, so we've known each other since the sixth grade. He was big time in high school. He was the man. He was highly recruited and had lots of accolades."

Making Greg Kragen's story even better was the fact that the former Utah State standout was cut by the Broncos before sticking with the team on the second try.

Unsung coming out of high school, Kyle Kragen has taken his game to another level at DVC. And what a braintrust. He also gets tips from his former DVC teammate Morgan Breslin, now a junior standout at USC.

Kyle said he got to know Johnny Millard, his former high school rival, during a recruiting trip last year at Cal Poly.

"Johnny was my host," Kyle Kragen said. "He was real nice, a real easygoing, nice guy."

One of nine siblings, Johnny Millard had a positive football experience at Foothill.

"Playing for coach (Matt) Sweeney was huge," Millard said. "He helped me a lot. He teaches you how to play football -- play hard, tough and just fast, and that's kind of what I live by."

Plus, Johnny's family was like one giant football team.

"It was awesome," he said. "They were all such great kids. Yeah, there was always action around the house. There was a lot of backyard football going on, even with the girls, too. They played, too. It toughened them up a little bit."

Contact Matt Schwab at mschwab@bayareanewsgroup.com or follow him on Twitter at schwab_matt.