The California School for the Deaf is undefeated in football this season with a record of 7-0. It’s not just their record that makes this team special, its also how they’re doing it. The school has combined old-school recruiting methods with modern technology to find some of the best players in America while building what will be one of the nation’s top public high schools
Head coach Keith Adams of the California School for the Deaf – Riverside talks with players as they prepare for the third round of the playoffs. (Photo courtesy of CBS)
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CBSLA) — A local high school team is on the verge of being undefeated for the first time in school history, as they are only two victories away from claiming the Division Championship. They haven’t had a winning season since 2011, and their success is remarkable with just 23 players on the roster.
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This narrative may seem familiar, but it is everything but.
The California School for the Deaf – Riverside, which is made up completely of hearing challenged players, is demonstrating that their aptitude greatly overcomes their impairment.
After a 9-0 regular season in which they outscored opponents by a total of 572-144, the Cubs are contending for the top slot in the Southern Section Division 2 8-Man Championship. The Cubs have only given up 20 points to the opposition twice this season, and they’ve outscored their last two postseason opponents 154-24 coming into their third playoff game on Friday.
The Cubs’ ability to silence opponents that can hear is maybe the most astounding aspect of the whole season.
“Don’t lessen your expectations for us,” head coach Keith Adams told the opponents. I’m hoping this is a good example of it.”
Adams’ major purpose, like that of many great coaches throughout history, is to prepare his players for things other than sports: “My goal is for them to believe in themselves.” You can succeed outside of here if you can succeed here. Right? What does it mean to encounter difficulty in the real world, just as you do here? You need to put forth more effort.”
It’s clear that the players trust in not just themselves, but also in the team that surrounds them. “One thing I’ve learned is that this is a brotherly team,” quarterback and wide receiver Ricardo Terrazas said.
The Cubs’ players can’t hear whistles, play-call adjustments, or opposing players, in addition to the usual hardship they experience on the field.
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But this is a positive thing for the Cubs. “At the end of the day,” Terrazas says, “we simply want to prove to them, like how’d that smack-talking work for you?” “Because we just annihilated you!”
Instead, the Cubs depend on body language, hand gestures, and hard labor.
This merely adds fuel to the fire, according to wide receiver and quarterback Joshua Spiert: “That notion… that image of us just makes us try harder to prove them wrong.” To demonstrate to them that deaf people can succeed.”
For those who are still skeptical, Richard Rios, the Cubs’ kicker, said, “Some hearing people say deaf people can’t accomplish anything… That isn’t the case. Deaf people may participate in sports. Deaf individuals excel at sports.”
That remark is backed up by a lengthy list of successful athletes who were also deaf. Professional athletes who are deaf include:
- Tamika Catchings is a Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer and WNBA icon.
- James Kyte – NHL player who appeared in over 600 games.
- Matt Hamill is a three-time NCAA Division III National Champion wrestler who also competes in the UFC light heavyweight division.
- Former NFL safety Reed Doughty
- David Smith is a volleyball player who competed in the 2015 Olympic Games.
- Ashley Fiolek – Women’s Moto X Super X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
- Derrick Coleman is a former NFL running back who won Super Bowl 48.
On November 19, the Cubs will take on Avalon High School in the Semifinals (7-2). In the Southern Section Division 8 Man 2 Football Rankings, Avalon is presently placed third.
The players are pleased of themselves this season, regardless of the result. “I’m really proud!” Spiert said. I’m ecstatic to share this with the rest of the world.”
Terrazas wanted to make sure that congratulatory messages were not sent too soon. “Please hold off on the congratulatory messages until we get there; once we do, we’ll take them all day.”
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With just two seniors on the roster, the Cubs seem to have a bright future.