May 30, 2024
Mountain View holds moment of silence, wears helmet decals with initials of mother who collapsed on field while tending to injured son and later died.

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

On each helmet was the initials “LD” in honor of Lucinda Daniels, who collapsed with a brain injury at a game last week while tending to her seriously injured son, senior running back Dillon Daniels, and died Wednesday.

The Spartans lost to Live Oak 20-14 in their emotional return to the field. But to Mountain View coach Tim Lugo, the scoreboard hardly mattered.

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

Before kickoff, Mountain View held a moment of silence in tribute to Lucinda, a wife and mother of four whose death sparked an outpouring of support from the Mountain View community and beyond.

The Mountain View High School football team bows their heads before their game, Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, during a moment of silence in honor of Lucinda Daniels. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

A GoFundMe page in her honor has raised more than $134,000.

Even at Bellarmine’s game on Friday night against McClymonds at San Jose City College, the crowd paid respect to Lucinda with a moment of silence.

Lucinda’s youngest son, Brandon, played in Mountain View’s junior varsity game on Friday before the varsity started its game.

Brandon Daniels wears his mother’s initials on his face before his junior varsity game against Live Oak. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
Brandon Daniels leads his JV teammates out to shake hands with Live Oak. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

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

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

As an organ donor, she has already saved four lives, Dillon said.

“Even after what has happened, she’s still helping people out,” he added. “Obviously, I’m really hurt that she’s gone. But I’m proud of everything she’s done.”

Dillon Daniels (5) is consoled by Live Oak football players after their game. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Mountain View left the decision to play on Friday to Lucinda’s loved ones.

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

Dale Daniels, attending his son’s Mountain View High School football game on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, is handed flowers by school principal Kip Glazer that were brought by the opposing team, Live Oak, in honor of his wife, Lucinda, who died tragically after suffering an aneurysm during last week’s game. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Senior wide receiver Lex Silver said the team played for its grieving teammate.

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

The home bleachers were filled to capacity for the varsity game.

Dillon didn’t move much while on the sideline but made his presence felt by cheering on his teammates during big plays in a game that went down to the end.

His booming voice was reminiscent of how Lugo and others in the Mountain View community described Lucinda during games. She was loud and regularly shook pompoms.

And when Dillon needed support on Friday, his teammates were there to help.

They embraced him with hugs as he became emotional during the pregame tribute to his mother.

Dillon Daniels (5) is comforted by his Mountain View High School teammates during a moment of silence in honor of his mother, Lucinda Daniels. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

But he couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

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

His team, which rallied from a two-score deficit in the fourth quarter and had a chance to take the lead on its final drive, desperately wanted to win for their teammate.

“I’m just disappointed,” junior linebacker Diego Ortega-Gerow said. “I know I’m gonna push my team to come back harder for Dillon.”

When the game ended and the teams lined up to shake hands at midfield, Dillon got his share of well-wishes from both sides.

Then the teams huddled together as coaches from both sides spoke. As they finished, they asked Dillon to break the huddle.

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

Standing nearby, Lugo added, “This is what high school sports is about.”

A coach for the Mountain View High School football team wears a button on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, in honor of Lucinda Williams, the mother of Dillon Daniels (5) who died tragically after suffering an aneurysm while attending last week’s game. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)