The team is currently on a 10-0 winning streak and slamming the opposition in the eight-man playoffs.
Football matches are raucous affairs, with a lot of screaming and cheering but that's not the case at a school in Riverside, home of the Cubs. Apart from the odd cheer from the crowd, it's the hum of the generator of the floodlights that fill in for noise at the football game at California School for the Deaf-Riverside. The community and the school are more excited than they've been in a long time and the cause for such anticipation and happiness is the winning streak of their football team. They are currently playing in the first round of the Southern Section Division 2 eight-man playoffs and look set to be the best in the school's history, reported The New York Times. They are currently on a 10-0 winning streak but it's the manner of those victories that has everyone on the edge of their seats. Not only are the Cubs defeating their opponents, but they are also eviscerating them.
Cubs won their last match at the expense of Desert Christian Knights, winning 84-12. It would have been a lot more embarrassing for the opposition if the coach hadn't shown mercy and put out a second-string team for the second half of the game. The team has often been viewed as a pushover team with a coach even hearing their team's deafness being used as a source of motivation, and insult, by the opposition team. “Don’t lose against the deaf team,” the coach heard the opposition team saying. “We felt really offended by that,” said Trevin, coach Keith Adams' son. The team has come a long way since and is taking the division by storm. “The players can now believe in themselves again,” said coach Keith Adams. “They’ve grown up in an area where there have always been people taking advantage of them because they can’t hear. So it’s definitely brought morale up—their self-esteem is a lot higher.”
The team had never made it past the second round of the section playoffs let alone win a championship. Prior to this season, they hadn't had a winning record in a decade. “We’ve been in a long drought,” said Erika Thompson, CSDR’s public information officer. The team's form and winning streak is a source of pride for the school and community. “These players and students have been working hard on and off the field,” said Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “This program is a model of how public education can change lives and sustain students. As a former student-athlete, I understand the lasting positive impact of our sports programs on our students and the valuable friendships that are made on the field. I am proud of the CSDR football team’s winning record during this breakthrough season and wish them luck in the playoffs.”
The coded hand signals and excellent communication during the matches leave opposition players and coaches baffled. While other teams have to rely on audible communication between players and coaches, including team huddles, using hand signals for tactics comes easily to them and gives them an edge during games. Some of the coaches believe they have an advantage as they have heightened visual senses, which makes them more aware of their opposition's positioning and their movement. “I would say be careful in thinking that you have an advantage. They communicate better than any team I have ever coached against,” said Adams.
The Cubs are now just two games away from securing the division championship for the first time in the school’s 68-year history. “I sometimes still can’t believe how well we played this year,” said Adams, who's also their physical education teacher. “I knew we were good, but never in my dreams did I think we would dominate every game.”