We are Fresno State: Night of honor at home opener

The Fresno State Marching Band spells out “Fresno” during the pregame performance on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (Jenna Wilson/The Collegian)

Fresno State welcomed home the football team Saturday night for the season’s home opener, a 31-3 victory over Sacramento State.

The Bulldogs were not the only ones being celebrated at Bulldog Stadium. Players, coaches, officials and fans observed a moment of silence for wounded Fresno County correctional officers, Toamalama Scanlan and Juanita Davila, and former Bulldogs Otis Tolbert and Todd Beamer.

Scanlan and Davila, were hospitalized on Sept. 3 after being shot in the jail’s lobby allegedly by Thong Vang. Tolbert and Beamer lost their lives 15 years ago in the 9/11 attacks.

Both veterans of the force, Scanlan and Davila were shot in the head and neck areas.

Senior associate athletic director Paul Ludwig said of the moment of reflection, “Spending time to honor true heroes in front of our home crowd was an easy decision to make.”

“We wanted a moment to show them this Valley cares about our neighbors, the same people that keep us safe,” he said.

Scanlan, a former Fresno State football player and volunteer high school football coach, remains listed in critical condition. Davila remains in critical, yet stable condition.

“Bulldog athletics are a huge part of our community, and it’s nice [to] have the players and staff in our corner as officers Scanlan and Davila work toward their recoveries,” said Fresno County Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti.

Tolbert, a Navy lieutenant commander and Lemoore native, was killed at the Pentagon  when the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into his office.

Tolbert played defensive end for the Bulldogs from 1980-83 and was a four-year letterwinner. He graduated with a degree in criminal justice.

An account manager at Oracle Corporation, Beamer was a passenger on the hijacked United Flight 93 headed for Washington, D.C., that crashed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board.

Beamer was a walk-on with the Fresno State baseball team in 1987 and 1988. He was a physical therapy major.

Tolbert and Beamer were honored by the university in 2002 on the first anniversary of the attacks when two young Canary Pine Island trees were planted in the Peace Garden in their memory.

During the first quarter on Saturday, Fresno State also honored four former Bulldog athletes: Satoshi “Fibber” Hirayama (baseball and football), Dennis Springer (baseball), Ryan Overland (baseball), and Tyrone Bradley (basketball). These ‘Dogs were named the alumni captains in the ‘Dogs home-opener.

The team’s night of honor came after head coach Tim DeRuyter opted to decline a delay-of- game penalty in last week’s game to honor former Cornhusker Sam Foltz who lost his life in a car accident in July.

The ‘Dogs travel to Toledo, Ohio, this Saturday to take on the Rockets. Kickoff is at noon P.T.

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