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Candid close-up with Thomas Jefferson's Chase Winovich

| Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 5:30 p.m.

The Thomas Jefferson football team shut down rival Elizabeth Forward last week in a sterling defensive performance.

The Jaguars were spurred defensively by 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior quarterback/linebacker Chase Winovich, a third-year varsity starter who was credited with three unassisted tackles, two sacks and two fumble recoveries against the Warriors.

The following is a “one-on-one” interview with Winovich, a Michigan recruit who attended the Wolverines' home game against Notre Dame last weekend:

Q: Given the pre-game hype, do you consider the 42-0 win against Elizabeth Forward as a statement game for the TJ football team?

A: I think our true statement will come once we win the WPIAL championship, but beating Elizabeth Forward is simply a tradition to us at this point.

Q: What do you think was the key to winning the game?

A: Heart and (our) lineman. We wanted it more, and as a unit were willing to die for every single inch.

Q: Were you surprised by the lopsided final score?

A: I'm sure many people were, especially the newspapers who predicted us to lose, but we know the Jaguar Machine is a tough one to stop, so we really weren't.

Q: What are the expectations for the TJ football team in 2013?

A: States or bust. No team can match our heart; it's going to be an exciting year.

Q: How did your trip to Ann Arbor go? What's it like to experience a game at the “Big House?”

A: It was an awesome experience to see a night game in Ann Arbor and be a part of the biggest crowd ever at a college football game (115,000-plus). It's definitely something you'll never forget.

Q: What steered you toward making a verbal commitment to the University of Michigan?

A: Choosing Michigan over great schools like Pitt, Stanford and Ohio State was definitely not an easy task, and it really came down to where I felt most comfortable and where I had the best opportunity to excel.

Q: Do you know yet what you will be your major?

A: I plan to study business

Q: How much of an influence has your brother, Peter, been for you?

A: A huge influence. He has helped me every step of the way. Ever since I was a little kid I have always tried to be like him.

Q: Who's your favorite NFL player? Any particular reason why?

A: Jack Lambert. He had the mentality of a champion.

Q: What does it mean to you to play Thomas Jefferson Jaguar football?

A: It's an honor to play at a school with such tradition and spirit as we do. And it's a privilege to wear the jersey that many Jaguars have worn before me.

Q: Is there any significance to why you wear uniform No. 15?

A: When I was a freshman, I asked Cherp if I could have No. 11 (Peter Winovich's uniform number at TJ), and he tossed me No. 15 and told me to make it a special number. That's kind of been my goal, to make it a special number for other players, like Dom DeCicco did with No. 2. It's given me extra motivation.”

Q: What is your favorite subject in school? Please explain.

A: Anything to do with business. I like managing stuff and learning how everything works.

Q: Do you have a nickname?

A: My family calls me CC, but that's about it.

Q: Who has the best nickname on the team?

A: Luke Deanovich. We call him Sherbet, like the frozen treat.

Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 312-388-5820 or rfisher@tribweb.com.

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