Lovertich - JucoWeekly
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Germany Law Firm - Mississippi Scoreboard

An amazing 57 wins and one loss.

         That’s Chance Lovertich’s record as a starting quarterback from the time he became a starter as a sophomore at Jackson Prep until today as a sophomore for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation and plays No. 4 Northwest Mississippi CC Saturday for the state championship.

         Leader. Focused. Poised. Accurate. Listener. Quick release. Competitor.

         All these words have been used to describe Lovertich, a 5-foot-11, 192-pound combination of Peyton Manning’s attention to detail, Brett Favre’s enthusiasm and grit and Drew Brees’ competitive fire for winning.

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         Consider this. When Lovertich was a junior at Prep he threw 25 touchdowns and no interceptions. Not one interception in 169 attempts. He completed 110 of those passes, 65.1 percent, for 1,926 yards and led Prep to a 13-1 record and a state championship. In fact, dating back to the end of his sophomore season and a few games into his senior season, Lovertich didn’t throw an interception for 18 consecutive games. He threw 32 TD passes with only three interceptions as a senior and his third straight state title.

“Chance is the most accurate passer I’ve ever coached. And I’ve coached a lot of good quarterbacks over the years,” said Black, who is the second winningest high school coach in Mississippi history and has been coaching for 44 years. “Chance is fearless and plays with a lot of confidence. He wants to successful on every snap, every series and every game. His winning attitude is contagious to his teammates. He gives the other players a lift.”

“I’m always trying to learn and get better,” Lovertich said. “(Prep) Coach (Ricky) Black taught me the little things, how to lead, encourage your teammates, play hard on every snap, focus on every play, don’t take a play off and have great preparation. I try to follow those things now at Gulf Coast. Coach Wright has won a national championship and he’s a winner like Coach Black. This has been the right fit for me. I want to compete for rings.”

Lovertich Mississippi Scoreboard
Photo courtesy of: Bob Smith

         While Lovertich won three rings at Prep, he’s wanting to add one more at Gulf Coast. And he’s two wins away from it. If Gulf Coast can beat Northwest CC Saturday, the Bulldogs will play for the national championship in Pittsburg, Kan. With Lovertich under center, the chances are pretty good Gulf Coast will get it done. He is third in the nation with completion percentage (65.7), fifth in passing yards (2,458), tied for fifth in touchdown passes (22), eighth in quarterback efficiency (153.2) and 10th in passing yards per game (245.8).

         “Chance is a quiet kid, but he’s a fiery competitor,” said Wright, who is in his second season at Gulf Coast. “He’s locked in all the time, whether it be in the weight room, in meetings, on the sidelines or in the game. It’s all about working and getting better and winning. He listens to every word you say. He is all in at the task at hand. Chance is extremely accurate and has a quick release. All the great quarterbacks have a quick release. Chance knows how to move the chains and put it in the end zone.”

         Wright coached high school football at Grenada, North Delta Academy and Meridian, junior college at Northwest Mississippi CC and Holmes CC and senior college at Millsaps. He knows a good quarterback when he sees one. There’s one he coached in 2015 people may have heard of. Gardner Minshew, the Brandon High alumnus who seems to have won the NFL Rookie of the Week almost every week this season, played for Wright and led Northwest Mississippi CC to the national championship.

         “Chance has similar qualities of Gardner,” Wright said. “He has Gardner’s same ability to complete a high percentage of passes, the same attention to fundamentals and the same contagious attitude to make his teammates around him better.”

Lovertich - JucoWeekly
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         Recruiting is all about connections and that’s how Lovertich made it down to Gulf Coast from Metro Jackson. Wright’s father, Willis, was a long time successful coach in North Mississippi at Starkville and South Panola. Black coached at Tupelo at the same time and knew Willis Wright and knew Jack as he was growing up. Jack Wright knew Black’s reputation as a winner and a coach who taught fundamentals so he trusted Black’s opinion on one of his players. Also, Gulf Coast defensive coordinator Brett Shufelt coached with Black at Mississippi State and during Lovertich’s sophomore season at Prep so when Wright was looking for a quarterback last season Shufelt suggested Lovertich.

         “There wasn’t a quarterback on campus when I got here,” Jack Wright said. “I was looking for someone like Gardner and Chance looked the part and also Coach Black said great things about him. That’s all I needed to know.”

         Lovertich had some competition though going into his first season at Gulf Coast. LSU transfer Lowell Narcisse and North Carolina transfer Logan Byrd were also battling for the starting position. Both of those guys came in rated higher by recruiting services, but Lovertich beat them out and was 6-0 as a starter. He missed three games due to a knee injury and Gulf Coast had a 1-2 record without Lovertich and didn’t make the playoffs. Lovertich led the nation in passing efficiency.

         “Chance oozes with poise, leadership and competitiveness,” Shufelt said. “The players rally around him and he makes them better. When I was coaching the secondary at Prep I was going up against him in practice and I could tell he was special even back then as a young sophomore. He had that swag and competitiveness.”

          Black had the opportunity to watch Lovertich for the first time in person as a college quarterback two weeks ago against then No. 6 Hinds CC in Raymond. Lovertich was the same confident, consistent player who Black saw daily at Prep. Lovertich completed 21 of 34 passes for 225 yards and one touchdown without an interception as Gulf Coast clinched the South Division championship with a 31-21 win.

Lovertich Mississippi Scoreboard
Photo courtesy of: Bob Smith

“Chance played exactly like I thought he would,’’ said Black, who watched the game near the Gulf Coast bench to watch Lovertich closely. “He controlled the offense, had a quick release, hit the open receivers and gave his team a chance to score. Chance was interacting with his teammates, encouraging players on offense and defense. He was talking to the coaches about the next series.”

Lovertich was once again on target last week when he led Gulf Coast to a convincing 31-7 victory over then No. 13 and defending national champion East Mississippi CC. He completed a season-high 25 passes in 33 attempts for 308 yards and one touchdown without throwing an interception. And for the ninth in 10 games, Lovertich was not sacked. It was the worst loss for East Mississippi, which has won five national titles in the last eight years, since 2008.

Lovertich comes from a family of star athletes. His dad, Trey, was the Mississippi Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year at Forest Hill. His grandfather, Doug Hutton, is a former All-American basketball player at Mississippi State and is in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Hutton still holds the record for most points in a game in the Mississippi public high school state tournament, set in 1960. Lovertich’s older brother, Trace, was a star linebacker at Prep.

But just like when Lovertich was a senior at Prep, the Division I schools aren’t beating down the door to ask Lovertich to come play for them.

“I’ve had some interest from some Division II schools,” Lovertich said. “(Division I) South Alabama (coached by former Gulf Coast coach Steve Campbell) has been showing some interest lately. I’m building a relationship with them so we shall see where that goes. I’m just going to keep on working hard and try to win the next game we play.”

With a 57-1 record, the percentages are good that Lovertich will win two more and bring home a national championship.