The 20-year-old Turlock man killed in a crash near Knights Ferry Thursday had a passion for football and “the biggest heart I know” his father said Friday.
Zachery Moore died after the car he was driving west on Highway 108 crossed into the eastbound lane and collided with a truck, the California Highway Patrol said. The driver of the truck, Christian Prado, 30, of Patterson, suffered minor injuries. Moore’s dog, Bentley, survived.
Moore, a 2015 graduate of Turlock High School, had moved to Sonora and was living with his grandfather, Dave Moore said. At the time of the crash, Zachery was on his way to car repair shop in Turlock.
“He was a great athlete, No. 1, and he wasn’t afraid of anything,” the elder Moore said of his son. “On at least one occasion, the school called me when he defended somebody who had been picked on and couldn’t defend themselves.
“He was a, ‘Wanna pick on him? Pick on me first and see how you do’ kind of guy.”
Moore played outside linebacker for the Turlock High School Bulldogs.
“The thing I’ve been thinking about, all I’ve been thinking about, is he was the type of kid who made you a better coach,” coach James Peterson said. “The reason I say that is he was so sharp when it came to football. If he asked you something and you gave him a BS answer, he’d be all over you.”
After graduating, Zachery Moore declined offers to play football for junior colleges in Modesto, Merced and Gilroy. He enrolled at Columbia College for a time and was working at a movie theater in Sonora while he considered what to to next, Dave Moore said.
If his future remained in question, his loyalty didn’t.
“You always knew where you stood with him,” Dave Moore said. “If he had your back, you never had to worry. He had your back forever.”
And as much as he loved football, it wasn’t his best sport.
“Growing up, he was probably better at baseball but he never liked it,” Dave Moore said. “It was just a way to stay busy until football season. Football was the only thing he liked enough to put up with practice.
“The whole Friday night thing, putting on the jersey and being with his brothers on the team, that’s what he lived for.”
Peterson said Zachery was a frequent visitor at school. “He was the type of kid who had to give you a hug when he saw you. A handshake wouldn’t do.” the coach said. “It’s unbelievable. It doesn’t seem real to me.”
In addition to his father, Zachery is survived by his mother, Jene Moore, an older brother, Blade, and a younger brother, Dayton Volk.
A gofundme account aimed at helping defray burial expenses had exceeded its $3,000 goal by Friday afternoon.
A rosary is planned Jan. 29 at Allen Mortuary, followed by a funeral Mass in Hilmar the following day. Zachery Moore will be buried in Hilmar, near his great-grandparents.