Well-known Gilroy resident and Valley Christian High School
football standout
“J.R.” Lovell Keith Adams was killed instantly Friday night by a
hit-and-run driver while vacationing with his family in Cancun,
Well-known Gilroy resident and Valley Christian High School football standout “J.R.” Lovell Keith Adams was killed instantly Friday night by a hit-and-run driver while vacationing with his family in Cancun, Mexico.

“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 was struck while crossing a street Friday night. The car did not have its headlights on – and did not stop. As of press time today, the driver had not been found.

Adams, who was raised in Morgan Hill, attended Britton Middle School before enrolling at Valley Christian High School in San Jose.

It was Valley Christian’s second student death in four weeks, and fourth over the past year.

A team meeting was held Monday morning where Adams’ fellow football players and friends were notified of their most recent 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, a 17-year-old senior, was an outstanding football player and captain, voted the team’s Most Valuable Player and selected to play in an all-star game in July.

“He would have found out about it (the selection) this weekend,” Machado said.

Valley Christian, which plays in the top-rated West Catholic Athletic League, was ranked number one in the NorCal rankings, and won the Central Coast Section Playoffs this year.

Idaho State University had offered Adams a scholarship, which he was considering and probably would have taken, Machado said.

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. I want people to know what kind of a loss this is.”

Adams is the second Valley Christian football player to die this month. Andre Pittman, a 2004 graduate of Valley Christian, was killed four weeks ago in a rain-related car accident.

“J.R. was a funny guy,” remembered 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 together Sharff said. “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.

KC Adams coached in Morgan Hill Pop Warner football for many years. JR Adams played in Pop Warner as he grew up here.

“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 (J.R.’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.”

A memorial fund has been set up in Adams’ his name. Donations can be made to the J.R. Memorial Fund at Community Bank of Central California located at 761 1st St., Gilroy. The account number is 110005402.

Funeral services will be held at a later date under the direction of Habing Family Funeral Home in Gilroy.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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