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Ceres High grad's life tragically cut short in motorcycle accident
Moniz a gifted athlete, likable person
Junior Moniz suited up for Ceres High's varsity football team during the 2010-11 school year. Moniz, 19, suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident on Nov. 8.

The 28-second video clip was posted on YouTube in September of 2010.

Junior Moniz thrilled Ceres High varsity football teammates and fans with a 92-yard kickoff return touchdown against Hilmar.

“It shows how great of an athlete he was,” said Brett Johnson, Moniz’s head coach at the time.

Several hundred people attended a candlelight vigil for 19-year-old Moniz at Bulldog Stadium on Nov. 9.

The 2012 Ceres High grad passed away on Nov. 8 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

“I have nothing but great things to say about him,” Johnson stated. “He worked his tail off. He was fun to be around. He was a jokester at times. When he stepped on the field, he was a competitor. He gave every ounce that he had. He was a great player and teammate. He was coachable. He’s a player any coach would have loved to have.”

Johnson learned of his former player’s death just after midnight, several hours after the Ceres High-Central Valley crosstown classic football game.  

“It’s one of those phone calls you pray you never get,” he said. “It’s a reminder you shouldn’t take anything for granted. I went home, hugged my son and wife, and called my other son. I actually saw him (Moniz) not too long ago at Nick Welsh’s wedding during the summertime. I talked with him for 15 minutes. He was doing well.”

Moniz contributed at wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner during his junior year at Ceres High.

He caught five passes for 62 yards and one touchdown in eight games.

He ran for 29 yards on five carries.

He had 30 tackles, seven pass defenses and one interception.

He amassed 272 yards and one TD on 10 kickoff returns.

Junior played one season of varsity baseball. Just a sophomore, Moniz collected seven hits, six RBIs, nine runs and three stolen bases in 16 games.

“You spend so much time with the kids,” Johnson said. “When they get out of high school, you don’t see them anymore. I was fortunate enough to see him before the accident.”

Moniz was buried at Lakewood Memorial Park in Hughson on Nov. 16.

“It’s a very difficult thing,” Johnson said. “I’ve been praying for his family. A parent should never have to bury their child.”

Moniz is survived by his long-time girlfriend, Morgan Ogden whom he loved and their three dogs (kids). He is preceded in death by his uncle Vito Owen Fontana.

He is also survived by his mother, Sue Fontana-Moniz of Ceres; his father and step-mom, Maurice Moniz, Sr. and Jamie Moniz of Denair; his brother, Vinnie Fontana and wife Val and nieces Faith and Emma, all of Waterford; brother Jacob Morris; youngest brother, Brayden Moniz of Denair; three sisters, Kadee Moniz of Ceres, Nichole Morris of Turlock, Jessica Morris and nephew Logan Tremble of Turlock; and his grandparents, Vito Fontana and Barbara Kirkpatrick of Modesto, and Manuel Moniz, Sr. and Virginia Moniz of Modesto. He also leaves behind uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.

He was a member of Ballin' On a Budget Truck Club of Denair, Show Off Motor Sports of Modesto, Mike Creech Automotive Diesels of Oakdale and Rui Esteves Power Components of Turlock.

“Everybody has special memories of him,” Johnson said. “He was a great kid. He touched and was loved by many people. He lived life to the fullest. He’ll be missed.”