He was not the starting quarterback but there is no doubt he was the star player of the team.
The La Mirada High School football family is grieving the loss of one of its MVP’s, Dante Angulo.
When it comes to winning, sometimes the MVP of a team isn’t the one who scores the most points but instead the one who inspires the most.
“The coach, that’s what he said, ‘I just want to let you know the whole season is going to be dedicated to your son,'” said Chaya Angulo, his mother. “They didn’t lose one game.”
If there’s a hero in the La Mirada High School football’s story, it was Dante.
“Not showing up to a game was not an option. He had to be there for the team, the team had to do well for him,” said Sol Angulo, his brother.
Former football coach Mike Moschetti credits the 28-year-old La Mirada High School alum for leading them to two CIF championships wins.
“If you were an average player you become good, if you were a good player you became great,” Moschetti said.
His inspiration was even documented in a short film. Even though Dante was wheelchair bound and couldn’t play, he could still be found on the field.
“We found out he had autism later on when he was 11 or 12, then we found out that eventually he was going to be in wheelchair,” Chaya said. “That’s how this horrible disease progresses and robs us of the people we love.”
Dante was only given a life expectancy of several years. He lived until he was 28-years-old, passing away on Saturday and leaving a huge hole in everyone’s heart.
“We saw him take his last breath. We told him how much we loved him and how much he was going to be missed and what was it,” Chaya said.
On Wednesday, Dante’s mom was his coach for the first time since Dante’s passing.
Moschetti recalled why he made Dante an honorary player years ago.
“He was always smiling and laughing,” Moschetti said. “I just couldn’t believe this kid, one pint walking normal and the next thing you know he’s in a wheelchair his body failing him.”
He says Dante inspired until the very end, both on the field and off.
The coach hopes to create a scholarship in Dante’s name so that his legacy lives on.
“As long as I live, I’m going to use him as a motivation,” Moschetti said.