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Broncos for a Day: Two young boys make lasting impact on Boise State football team

Every so often, the Boise State football team put the power of family on display.

BOISE -- Every so often, the Boise State football team puts the power of family on display by opening their arms to their biggest fans.

Whether it be a high-five or hug, it's a chance for some of Boise's finest athletes to step away from the game in front of them and focus on those attempting to tackle a much more difficult opponent.

"This is like the best day ever," expressed Tanya Bass, "the Broncos have been so great to all of us."

"To get an opportunity to just come out and talk football with the guys, it was a good opportunity for him," said Rick Worthington.

"It's hard to have a positive outlook day in and day out," added Worthington about his son, "and something like this gives him something to look forward to."

Meet 14-year-old Nikko Worthington. A fighter if there's ever been.

The smile inside of this facemask hides this heroes struggles. For the last year, he's been battling cancer, and whatever effects the disease tries to throw at him.

Then there's 12-year-old Reece Bass.

"He was diagnosed with Autism when he was five, and at six, we found out that he had a brain malformation," explained his mom, Tanya.

So Reece had to have brain surgery when he was just six years old. The procedure was helpful, but it didn't completely alleviate what has become a life-altering condition.

"Because we didn't catch it earlier, he does have some motor-skill issues," added Tanya.

On Wednesday, however, Nikko and Reece would leave their worries on the sideline.

They got the chance to actually line up and play against their idols. Nikko called plays in the huddle, while Reece when out and executed them, and even scored a touchdown.

After they were done on the field, both Nikko and Reece signed letters of intent; a binding contract that officially welcomed them into the Bronco family.

In between all the cheers, there was a lesson or two to be learned, and it was only a slight surprise of who offered them.

Nikko shared his message about the true measure of toughness.

"What I've learned is just keep fighting. Work towards your goals and you'll reach them," said Nikko, as the Boise State running back surrounded him.

"I think it's probably one of the more emotional speeches I've ever been a part of," said running backs coach Lee Marks.

Meanwhile, Reece tossed around an up-lifting reminder about how much fun the game is supposed to be.

"Before today he had never thrown a football. That was one of his big goals," said Tanya.

"It feels awesome," said Reece, “It felt pretty good and energizing."

They called the event "Bronco for a Day." Having personally experienced it though, it sounds like these newfound friendships will last much longer than Wednesday’s practice.

"I meant an awful lot to those guys,” said Marks. “I know that because it meant and an awful lot to me.”

And as for who made the biggest impact - the players of the kids - well, I'll let you decide.

"I see the smile on his face, the look in his eyes and what this means to him," said Alexander Mattison, "it means so much more to us.

"I think that he'll remember it for the rest of his life, but we'll remember it for the rest of our lives as well."

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