Falcon defense brings cheer to local hospital

Andrew Harner and Andrew Harner

BOISE — The Falcon defense can give members of a crowd a big smile simply by taking a football away from the opposition.

But Tuesday morning, some of the defenders did the opposite, creating big smiles by giving autographed footballs to some patients at a local Boise hospital.

A total of 12 members of the team – 11 senior players and coach Dave Clawson – were at St. Alphonsus Medical Center to visit patients, and the group of P.J. Mahone, Roger Williams, Jahmal Brown and Jerett Sanderson visited about 12 patients, ranging from the elderly to newborn babies.

The hospital visitation was part of the bowl’s community outreach program, and it was required for both teams to send players to a hospital this morning. Idaho players visited St. Luke’s Medical Center.

‘I think this is a great experience for us as well as the patients who we were talking to,’ Mahone said. ‘I think they’re having a good time, and we’re trying to be as friendly as possible.’

The players only stayed with most patients for a minute or two, but every patient was pleased to see the Falcon players even if they weren’t football fans or had no idea what state is home to Bowling Green.

The first patient the defensive group visited was actually a quarterback when he was younger and said he planned to watch the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl tomorrow.

Because the elderly man was a football player himself, Mahone said the group could relate to his experiences.

‘The first guy we saw, he used to play football back in the day,’ the safety said. ‘We related a little bit. He was telling us about some of his experiences.’

The group continued to visit several other patients including an elderly woman who was hopeful to get out of the hospital tomorrow and a former offensive lineman, who gave up playing football once he entered college.

The group also visited several parents with newborns and a few children before the hour-long visit was through.

For Williams, just being at the hospital and bringing cheer to those less fortunate than him was an eye-opening experience.

‘It’s a great experience because I feel I made a lot of impact on some people,’ Williams said. ‘It made me realize life is real short and you can’t take advantage of what you have. It feels real good to have an impact on people.’

The kick returner and cornerback said none of the patients touched his heart more than the others because the opportunity was designed for all patients to have some visitors and to get a smile.

‘All of them did,’ Williams said. ‘Every person we visit is just something special to me. None of them were higher than another, they were all the same to me.’

Falcon players involved:

Quarterback Tyler Sheehan Wide receiver Freddie Barnes Tight end Jimmy Scheidler Safety P.J. Mahone Linebacker Jerett Sanderson Safety Jahmal Brown Cornerback Roger Williams Offensive lineman Shane Steffy Offensive lineman Brady Minturn Linebacker Cody Basler Long snapper Craig Rutherford Coach Dave Clawson Mascot Freddie Falcon’