Honoring their hometown heroes: some Bills players get extra support ahead of Sunday’s game


BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — Bills fans are everywhere, and this weekend there will be thousands more of them.

With Bills players coming from all across the country, their hometowns will be celebrating as they take on the Kansas City Chiefs during the AFC Championship.

That includes Fostoria, OH, where Micah Hyde grew up. After the Cleveland Browns lost to the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional round, residents there realized they had another team to support during the playoffs.

Audrey Keels, a family friend of the Bills safety, says she watched Hyde grow up and turn into the football player he is today. Because of that, she wanted to find a way to rally Fostoria around him.

She put together “Micah Hyde Week,” happening right now. The area schools took part in coloring contests, residents decorated their homes in Bills colors and Keels was even able to raise money for Hyde’s organization, Imagine for Youth.

“This is a small town of 13,000,” she told News 4. “It was just amazing how people were celebrating, just celebrating.”

Another small town further west has also adopted the Buffalo Bills as their team this weekend.

Firebaugh, CA, resident Markus Espinoza inducted himself into Bills Mafia ahead of the Ravens game last weekend by jumping through a folding table. He says he wanted to do it to show support for Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who grew up there.

“You got our hometown kid, and we’re just so proud of him and all the accomplishments that he’s been able to create,” Espinoza said.

Hours after his trip through the folding table, the Bills beat the Ravens, and Espinoza, who played on the same football team as Allen in high school, grabbed his Bills flag and drove around Firebaugh. That’s when he had an idea how the city could really get behind their “hometown kid.”

“We knew we wanted to do something special to show our support, so we made these flags up and we’re going to put them on every single light post in Firebaugh down our Main Street,” Espinoza said. “I knew people would want to get behind it right away. Anything surrounding Josh, surrounding the Bills, we’re all for it, we’re all behind it.”

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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