The Bellville community came together on July 24 to give the late Zach Hood one more Friday night under the lights of the Pasture of Pain, where he excelled in both football and soccer in his three years as a Brahma.
Teammates from both squads as well as head football coach and athletic director Grady Rowe had words to honor their friend’s life at a remembrance gathering that followed memorial services. Hood was killed in an auto accident on July 19.
“Zach impacted a lot of lives and that’s evident tonight,” Rowe said during the ceremony. “As I visited with his mom this week, she said she knew he had a lot of friends and that he was close with a lot of people, but she didn’t realize the true number of friends that he had.”
Recent graduate Dalton Bills said one of his favorite memories with Hood involved the postgame hangouts that were hosted in the Bills’ man cave this past season.
“Little did I know these seven guys would change my life and create a bond that would never be broken. Today we are known as the Cavemen and it would never be the same without Zach,” Bills said. “Sitting around, even after a loss and some bumps and bruises, Zach never failed to put a smile on our faces.”
One of Hood’s classmates, Alex Marek, shared another postgame memory which also involved smiles.
“The one thing I’ll never forget about Zach is after every football game, win or lose, we’d be talking with our family and we’d always look for each other at the end of each game to get our picture together,” Marek said. “No matter what happened that night, seeing him running up to me would always put a smile on my face. That would make any night perfect for me.”
Ian Alvarez, a soccer teammate who graduated this past spring, said that although he and Hood weren’t as close as some of his other friends, Alvarez knew he could always rely on Hood for whatever he needed.
“He was unique in his own way and for that reason, he was loved by so many,” Alvarez said. “On the field, he made his presence be known as a true captain, always a leader, never a follower. Even in defeat, he never let his guard down and always managed to persevere.”
Garrett Babylon, another classmate of Hood’s, spoke of a special relationship formed from playing similar positions both on the football field and the soccer pitch for the last six years.
“We laughed together on the field; Zach even had us play rocks paper scissors on the soccer field when things got slow on defense. Rock was always his favorite,” Babylon said. “And that’s how he was as a friend: he was a rock. He would always make sure others were taken care of before himself.”
One thing Babylon knew was special to Hood was his family.
“His speed was never more apparent than when he would rush over to the stands to greet his family and take pictures with his mom and sisters,” Babylon said. “I never forget during Little Brahmas Zach was so proud of have his little brother as his Little Brahma and his big smile never left his face.”
One of Hood’s sisters, Shantel, said a few words of appreciation, harking back to the speech she made when running for Austin County Fair Queen.
“I just want to thank this city. I ran for fair queen a couple years ago and one of my speeches had a prompt about Bellville and my answer is what I’m going to say today: there is not a better town than – as Coach Rowe will put it – Bellville, America,” she said. “This is bigger than Texas, it’s bigger than us. I’m extremely grateful to have everyone here today to honor my brother and support my family at this time.”
Hood’s family joined his teammates on the field to release balloons and light candles in his honor, holding Zach’s number three in the sky where he’ll look over his parents, Susan and Quentin, sisters Shantel and Zabrina and little brother Stream forever.