Gilroy – Well-known Gilroy resident and Valley Christian High
School football standout Lovell Keith
Adams was killed instantly by a hit-and-run driver while
vacationing with his father in Cancun, Mexico Friday night. This is
Valley Christian’s second student death in four weeks, and fourth
over the past year.
Gilroy – Well-known Gilroy resident and Valley Christian High School football standout Lovell Keith “JR” Adams was killed instantly by a hit-and-run driver while vacationing with his father in Cancun, Mexico Friday night. This is Valley Christian’s second student death in four weeks, and fourth over the past year.
“We lost a student, lost a player, lost the whole nine yards,” said Mike Machado, who serves as dean of students and head football coach. “JR was a team leader, (a captain), as well as a leader on campus. He brought a smile to a lot of faces.”
Adams, a 17-year old senior, was struck while crossing a street Friday night. According to family members, the car did not have its headlights on – and did not stop. As of press time, the driver had not been found.
At a team meeting Monday morning, Machado informed Adams’ teammates and friends of the tragedy.
“There were a lot of tears, a lot of stories. We told the kids that there’s no answer for this kind of stuff,” Machado said. “You can’t take away memories – and we have a lot of memories.”
Adams was an outstanding football player and team captain, voted the team’s Most Valuable Player and selected to play in an all-star game in July. The 6-foot, 180-pound halfback led the West Catholic Athletic League with 17 touchdowns this year and was one of the leading rushers, averaging 6.51 yards per attempt during the regular season. He was selected as a first team All-League team this year.
“He would have found out about (the honor) this weekend,” Machado said. Valley Christian earned the top ranking in the NorCal rankings and won the Central Coast Section Playoffs this year.
Idaho State University offered Adams a scholarship, which he was considering and probably would have taken, Machado said.
Adams attended Britton Middle School in Morgan Hill before attending Valley Christian High School in San Jose. Over the past four years, Machado watched Adams develop into “one heck of a football player.”
According to his coach, Adams was a hard worker on and off the field.
“He wasn’t one of the most gifted (academically), but he worked hard,” Machado said.
“Of all things, what I’ll miss most is just talking to him,” he added. “I want people to know what kind of a loss this is.”
Adams is the second football player to die this year. Andre Pittman, a 2004 graduate of Valley Christian and former teammate, was killed four weeks ago in a rain-related car accident.
“JR was a funny guy,” said former teammate, Ricky Sharff. “He just always would be able to cheer you up.” Sharff was Pittman’s best friend.
Every Wednesday, Adams and friends would go out for an all-you-can-eat dinner and watch TV, according to Sharff.
“And that was just Wednesdays,” he said. “But the last time I saw him was at Andre’s funeral two weeks ago.”
Adams had been vacationing with his father, KC Lovell Adams, when the tragedy occurred. His father will bring his body home Wednesday morning.
“God was first. Family was second. And football was third (in his life),” said Adams’ uncle, Marlowe Brinson. “Going to college was probably his number one dream. His education was more important than football – a lot of people don’t know that,” he said.
“It’s important for him to remembered not for his football colors, but for the person he was,” Brinson said. “One thing that (JR’s) father taught him was that no one was going to give him anything in life – he had to fight for it. And he did that.”
A handsome young man and joker, Adams would stare into the mirror, playing with his lips, and pretend “he was stronger than he was,” he recalled.
“He taught me to appreciate everything you have in life – because it can be taken away from you.”
Adams’ mother and step-mother declined to comment.
A Memorial Fund has been set up. Donations can be made to the JR Memorial Fund at Community Bank of Central California located at 761 1st St. The account number is 110005402.
Funeral services will be held at a later date under the direction of the Habing Family Funeral Home in Gilroy.