Underdog No More, a Deaf Football Team Takes California by Storm

By Thomas Fuller: For Complete Post, click here…

The California School for the Deaf, Riverside, is steamrolling its opponents, electrifying a campus that has seen more than a few athletic defeats.

The athletic program at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, has suffered its share of humiliations and harassment over the years. There was the time that a visiting team’s volleyball coach mocked the deaf players. And another time a hearing coach for the girls basketball team listened as opponents discussed how embarrassing it would be to lose to a deaf team.

It did not help morale that the varsity football team, the Cubs, recently suffered seven straight losing seasons, leaving the school with the sinking feeling that opposing football teams came to the Riverside campus expecting an easy win.

No one is disparaging the Cubs anymore. This season, they are undefeated — the highest ranked team in their Southern California division. Through 11 games, they have not so much beaten their opponents as flattened them.

On Friday night, the second round of the playoffs, the Cubs trounced the Desert Christian Knights, 84-12, a score that would have been even more lopsided had the Cubs not shown mercy by putting their second-string players in for the entire second half.

Led by the school’s physical education teacher, Keith Adams, a burly and effervescent deaf man whose two deaf sons are also on the team, the Cubs are a fast and hard-hitting squad. Wing-footed wide receivers fly past defenses, averaging 17 yards per catch. The quarterback doubles as the team’s leading rusher, with 22 touchdowns on the season. A system of coded hand signals among tight-knit teammates and coaches confounds opponents with its speed and efficiency.

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