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Family, friends mourn Hamilton High School football player who died of accidental drug overdose

His friends and family gathered at a park in the East Valley to remember him.

PHOENIX — Family and friends are mourning the loss of a standout football player at Hamilton High School in Chandler.

Zach Plunk’s parents said he died of an accidental fentanyl overdose.

His friends and family gathered at a park in the East Valley on Monday to remember him.

A storm rolled through the East Valley over a crowd of people who never should have been there, but refused to leave. 

They shouldn't have been there because Plunk should not be dead. 

“I wish I could’ve been there to help him, and be able to support him," Michael Parham said. 

Parham knew Plunk for years. They went to school together, and about two years ago they started smoking fentanyl together.

“He had been clean for the past five months, so have I," Parham said. "And we’ve just been fighting battles, just trying to do the best we can to make our parents proud."

There had been clouds gathering around Plunk for a while. He had God-given abilities and he always talked about wanting to play football at Baylor University.

He was a star football player at Hamilton High School.

But in the last few years, his parents said there was a slow spiral that started his freshman year, including run-ins with the law and more drugs.

“Something traumatic happened to him, I can’t go into it right now," his father Roy Plunk said. 

"But we think it had a big effect on turning him toward drugs and a different way of life.”

Plunk’s parents tried to get him help. He was in therapy and they tried to get him drug treatment. But he couldn't escape this storm.

“(At) 1:30 in the morning, somebody delivered it to the house. We saw him go out the Ring camera and he came back with the stuff," Roy Plunk said. 

"Then another hour or two later they were doing CPR on him in front of the house. He overdosed on fentanyl and it’s the worst drug on the streets right now.”

Plunk texted Michael Parham the night he died. He said he had something he had to tell him, but he never got the chance.

Instead, Parham is left with memories and candles in the rain.

“He’s one of the best people I ever met….he’s caring…he’s friendly…he put everyone else before him."

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