Emotional return: Mountain View plays in honor of mother who died

Mountain View holds moment of silence, wears helmet decals with initials of Lucinda Daniels, who collapsed on field while tending to injured son

VIEW FROM THE MOUNTAIN – The Mountain View High School football team played its first game on Friday night, with heavy hearts, after an unthinkable tragedy left the program mourning the death of a player’s mother.

Each helmet bore the initials “LD” in memory of Lucinda Daniels, who died Wednesday after collapsing with a brain injury while tending to her injured son, senior running back Dillon Daniels, during a game last week.

In their emotional return to the field, the Spartans were defeated by Live Oak 20-14. Mountain View coach Tim Lugo, on the other hand, didn’t care about the scoreboard.

“Like I told the kids, whether you win or lose, you’re all winners for playing tonight,” Lugo said.

Mountain View held a moment of silence before the game to remember Lucinda, a mother of four whose death sparked an outpouring of love from the Mountain View community and beyond.

A GoFundMe page set up in her honor has raised over $134,000.

Even at Bellarmine’s game against McClymonds on Friday night at San Jose City College, the crowd observed a moment of silence in honor of Lucinda.

Brandon, Lucinda’s youngest son, played in Mountain View’s junior varsity game on Friday before the varsity game. He had his mother’s initials painted on his cheek.

Dillon, who had surgery this week to repair a fractured leg and dislocated ankle, sat on crutches and watched the varsity game.

Dillon described Lucinda as a loving person who cared deeply for others in his first public comments since his injury and the death of his mother.

She has already saved four lives as an organ donor, according to Dillon.

“Even after what happened, she’s still helping people,” he continued. “Obviously, I’m devastated that she’s gone. But I’m proud of everything she’s accomplished.”

Mountain View’s decision to play on Friday was left up to Lucinda’s family.

“We’ve been in communication with the Daniels family since Day One,” said Mountain View principal Kip Glazer. “They felt like they needed that community support.”

Dale Daniels, Lucinda’s husband, sat in the stands wearing sunglasses and a black T-shirt with his wife’s initials on a patch.

The Daniels family received flowers from Live Oak, which Glazer presented to Dale.

Mountain View played for a grieving teammate, according to senior wide receiver Lex Silver.

“Dillon wanted us to be out here,” Silver explained.

The home bleachers were packed for the varsity game.

Dillon didn’t move much on the sidelines, but he made his presence known by cheering on his teammates during big plays in a game that came down to the wire.

His deep voice reminded Lugo and others in the Mountain View community of how they described Lucinda during games. She was boisterous and frequently shook pompoms.

And when Dillon needed assistance on Friday, his teammates were there to assist him.

As he became emotional during the pregame tribute to his mother, they embraced him with hugs.

But he couldn’t picture himself anywhere else.

“It felt really good to be out here,” said Dillon.

The Spartans desperately wanted to win for their teammate after rallying from a two-score deficit in the fourth quarter and having a chance to take the lead on the final drive.

“I’m just disappointed,” said sophomore linebacker Diego Ortega-Gerow. “I know I’m going to push my team to fight harder for Dillon.”

Dillon received well-wishes from both sides as the game ended and the teams lined up to shake hands at midfield.

The teams then huddled together as both coaches spoke. When they were done, they asked Dillon to break the huddle.

“When one group is hurting, the other group steps up and is there for them,” said Live Oak coach Mike Gemo.

Lugo, who was standing nearby, added, “This is what high school sports are all about.”

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