QB Kevin Conway accounts for five touchdowns as Mountain View wins for first time since a player’s mother dies
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — On Friday night, at Mountain View High, sorrow was replaced by joy for a brief moment.
The Spartans were able to focus better nine days after the death of football parent Lucinda Daniels, and the result was a 40-21 non-league victory over visiting Leigh.
Mountain View’s Dillon Daniels suffered a traumatic leg injury during the season opener against The King’s Academy on Aug. 25, and his mother died as a result of a pair of strokes and a ruptured brain aneurysm.
But there were some reasons to smile on Friday.
“Especially after that King’s game and everything that has happened, we feel like we’re a lot closer and more of a family than we were before,” quarterback Kevin Conway said. “Previously, we would sometimes break on ‘family,’ and I’m not sure if everyone meant it. But after that game, I know everyone is serious.”
Conway was the game’s MVP, completing 17 of 26 passes for 283 yards, including 261 in the first half. Conway scored four touchdowns, ran for another, and added a two-point conversion pass.
Lex Silver, Conway’s football teammate since the second grade, caught eight passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns, including an 85-yard touchdown on a medium-deep fade.
“I don’t know what kind of quarterback I’d be if I didn’t have him as a receiver,” Conway admitted.
Mountain View took a 40-7 lead late in the third quarter on Silver’s final touchdown, a three-yarder on a crossing route in the back of the end zone, and both coaches agreed to a running clock throughout the fourth quarter, despite Leigh QB Tyler Donaldson connecting on two touchdown passes.
A carefree game meant taking pictures of his teammates from the sidelines, offering encouragement, and yelling to whoever could hear, “Tape me up! I’m prepared! “Please put me on the field!”
“It means a lot to come out here, have a win, and watch everyone fight and do their thing,” he said. “It feels really good to be out here.”
Even in the face of tragedy, Daniels was the one who helped lift the team’s spirits following last week’s 20-14 loss to Live Oak in Mountain View’s first game since Lucinda’s death.
Daniels didn’t want to be the reason Mountain View wasn’t performing to its full potential. He told the team in a group chat this week that he didn’t want them to feel sorry for him and that it was time to move on.
Coach Tim Lugo stated that after watching film of the Live Oak loss, he felt better about correcting mistakes and providing tough coaching.
“It was really nice to have a regular week of practice where we could get on guys and push them hard,” said Lugo. “The week before, we just didn’t feel comfortable doing that.” It felt good to be back on the field.”
During the coin toss, Leigh players carried a banner reading, “The Longhorns support the Daniels family.” In an envelope, the school delivered a gift to Dillon’s father, Dale.
For Dale, simply being present was a victory and a thank-you.
“It’s difficult to put into words… the outpouring of support,” Dale said. “(Lucinda) was given such a lovely soul.” To witness all of this for her… I can’t express how grateful we are. All of this makes us extremely proud. We are obviously devastated, but we are also extremely proud.
“I adore this neighborhood. To be honest, everywhere. So many people have contacted me. A story like this can be related to by all football communities throughout the Bay Area. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s also lovely.”
There is only one night. But it was unique for the Daniels family and Mountain View High School.
“Oh my God, every day has been a constant ups and downs,” Dale exclaimed. “Just to be out here and smile with everything going well… It’s been a fantastic evening. We really needed it.”