The California High School for the Deaf’s historic season came to a heartbreaking end on Saturday. The team finished with an 0-25 record and lost all of their games, proving that progress can’t come easy even when you’ve got some world class athletes.
Faith Baptist had a score of 74, while California School for the Deaf – Riverside received a score of 22. (Image courtesy of KCAL News)
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CBSLA) — On Saturday evening, the California School for the Deaf – Riverside high school football season came to a close with the Cubs losing their first game of the season, 74-22.
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Despite the defeat, the coaching staff and players sought to reassure their newfound supporters that the season as a whole was a win for not just CSDR, but the whole deaf community.
Following a historic season in which they earned a place in the National Championship game for the first time in its 68-year existence as a school, the school became the focus of news throughout the United States.
The team’s popularity has grown to the point that the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has had to transfer the game from CSDR to John W. North High School to accommodate the ever-increasing audiences.
Christian Jimenez, a junior tight end and defensive lineman, wants to remind fans that the Cubs are more than simply a win-loss team:
“I simply want to express my gratitude for all of your support and for believing in us. We hope you understand that we can play since deaf individuals can do everything but hear. Maintain an open mind. Don’t think of us as handicapped. We have the ability to play football… we have the ability to play the game.”
A victory for the deaf community, as well as much more for Jimenez and the rest of the Cubs club, who rewrote history both on and off the field all season.
CSDR was 12-0 and averaged 62 points per game entering the contest. Despite not being able to depend on their hearing capabilities, they were frequently able to steamroll opponents.
Rather, the team used hand gestures and body language to communicate. While this may seem to be a drawback to some, the Cubs regarded it as an advantage.
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CSDR players after the CIF Southern Section 8-Man Division 2 Finals on Saturday night. (Photo credit: CBSLA/KCAL/Rick Montanez)
Instead than depending on harsh talk to get into their opponents’ heads, they let their performance speak for itself.
For the Cubs, who hadn’t had a winning season since 2011, this was no easy assignment. Jimenez isn’t upset with his performance, but he’s looking forward to getting back on track next year:
“We’re going to play harder next year, we’re going to weight lift more, we’re going to condition more, and we’re going to be more prepared….” We’re at the final game, and we created history — something that has never occurred in 68 years. Being here with my brothers at the championship game was an inspiration in and of itself. However, this is a task that will have to wait until next year.”
Even though CSDR did not win the title game, the Cubs are still qualified for the CIF State Playoffs, which will be decided on Sunday when officials gather to decide who will play in the regional championship games.
‘Proud’ is an understatement for Head Coach Keith Adams:
“I’m quite pleased with them. This year, they’ve all had fantastic seasons. They placed CSDR on the map and have a long list of accomplishments.”
Regardless of CIF’s ruling, CSDR has a bright future ahead of them: 21 of their 23 players are eligible to return next season, with just two seniors set to graduate.
The Faith Baptist Contenders, their opponent, had raced to a tremendous 28-0 lead going into the second quarter. The Cubs responded with 22 consecutive points, but it was the last time they scored in the game.
The Contenders finished the first half with 22 points of their own, leading 50-22 at halftime.
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They added 24 more points in the second half to clinch the Division title.