(Correction notice: An earlier version of this story did not list Archbishop Hoban as the competing team in an October game. This has since been corrected and News 4 regrets the error.)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — St. Francis High School had a lot of connections to yesterday’s Bills-Giants matchup — including the Sunday Night Football broadcast showing a highlight play from a recent game.
Junior wide receiver Jeremiah Neely made it to prime time when his touchdown reception from the Red Raiders’ October contest against Archbishop Hoban (Ohio) was shown during Sunday’s game.
“It was a very exciting game, we played one of the top teams in Ohio and I just went out and played my best. And on that play I knew it was coming so I had to try my best to get open and make the catch and I did,” Neely told News 4 in a live interview.
Neely’s moment in the spotlight was exciting, but the high schooler told News 4 he did not actually catch the special moment live on TV.
“I was watching the game but I had stepped out for a moment and I didn’t see myself actually on the TV. I was laying down and everyone kept texting my phone they said they’d seen my touchdown on national TV,” Neely said.
Giants’ head coach Brian Daboll is also a St. Francis graduate. He met up with his former coach, Jerry Smith, on the sidelines before kickoff.
The local connections don’t end there: Smith’s son, Christopher, is also an assistant offensive line coach with the Giants.
“For me it was something where I really appreciated the fact that these kids got some exposure, and was glad that Dabs got to that level along with my son Chris, so it was pretty cool to see them,” Jerry Smith said.
The Sunday night matchup was a homecoming for Daboll. He was born in Welland, Ontario but went to St. Francis, and returned to the stadium where he served four seasons as Buffalo’s offensive coordinator.
The Bills, however, spoiled Daboll’s homecoming, eking out a 14-9 victory.
Justin McMullen is a Western New York native who joined the News 4 team in 2023. You can read more of his work here.