Tragic death of Whittier Christian football player brings perspective, inspiration to La Mirada

La Mirada (Calif.) will be playing Friday for the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship, but it’s safe to assume that may not be the only thing on players’ minds this week.

On Thanksgiving, Ethan Hawks, a player at Whittier (Calif.) Christian, succumbed to injuries suffered in a freak accident while traveling with his mother. Following La Mirada’s victory last week, coach Mike Moschetti talked about how his team’s win felt meaningless in light of what the Hawks’ were going through.

(Warning: A touch of explicit language comes at the tail-end of this clip.)

On Tuesday of this week, Whittier Christian Head of School Carl Martinez and athletic director Rolland Esslinger spoke with the La Mirada team, and Moschetti shared their message with the Whittier Daily News.

“We were all holding back tears,” Moschetti said. “Some of our players were crying. The big picture they gave us was to enjoy these times and have fun and whatever you do in life, go out and compete and win.

“Their message to us was it’s not just a game, so go out and win it. We made a pact that we’re going to do everything in our power to win this game for Ethan Hawks and the Whittier Christian community.”

Whittier Christian is holding a celebration of life for Hawks Saturday.