A high school football team in Riverside, California, is playing a history-making season. Their so far undefeated season is unprecedented not only because they have just 23 players – but because all of them are deaf.
For the first time in nearly 60 years, California School for the Deaf could watch their varsity football team win the division championship, KCBS reports.
KCBS reporter Nicole Comstock interviewed the team ahead of a game Friday, when their record stood at 11-0. With two more wins, they could take the championship – and the players couldn't even describe the excitement. "I don't even know how to put that in words," said quarterback Ricardo Terrazas. "I'm ready! I'm ready to do it. I'm fired up."
The players may not be able to hear whistles or calls, but they can communicate with hand signals and body language. Head coach Keith Adams said it's all about hard work and practice.
"I've told them impeccable practice, impeccable games," he said.
Terrazas joked it could be something else. "It could be talent. I mean, I'm pretty sure that's probably what it is," he said. The Cubs football team has a lot of that. Not only have they been beating hearing teams – they've been winning by landslides.
And during Friday's game, they did it again. They beat Avalon High School on Catalina Island – 62 to 51. Now, their record is 12-0 and with one more win, they'll be champions. Their next game is Saturday, November 27.
Each of their wins this season wasn't just a victory for the players. "It'll be history for the deaf schools," said Celia Gonzalez, whose son, Felix, is on the team. "I now want the championship for them and for them to do well – and prove that they can do well in life."
Adams says the team is a demonstration to not have low expectations. "My goal is that they believe in themselves. If you can succeed here, you can succeed outside of here," he said. "The real world, you're gonna face adversity just like you do here, what does that mean? You gotta work harder."
For the players, the question is not how they could make it this far – it's, "why not?" "Some hearing people, they think that deaf people can't do anything. And that's not true. Deaf can play sports. Deaf people are great athletes," kicker Richard Rios said.
"That misconception, that view of us just has us working harder to prove them wrong. To show them that deaf people can do it," wide receiver and quarterback Joshua Sipert said.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify how many games the California School for the Deaf needs to win its divisional championship.
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