Shot of California School for the Deaf – Riverside head coach Keith Adams with players as they prepare for the third round of playoffs. (Photo Credit: CBS)

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) – A local high school team is on the precipice of an undefeated season as they sit just two wins away from a Division Championship for the first time in school history. They haven’t put together a winning season since 2011, and with just 23 players on the roster, their success is unprecedented.

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This may sound like a story you’ve heard before – and it’s anything but that.

Comprised entirely of hearing impaired players, the California School for the Deaf – Riverside is showing that their ability far outweighs their disability.

The Cubs are vying for the top spot in the Southern Section Division 2 8-Man Championship after putting together a 9-0 regular season, in which they outscored opponents by a margin of 572-144. They’ve allowed 20 or more points to the opposition just twice all year, and heading into their third playoff game on Friday, the Cubs, now 11-0, have outscored their prior two playoff opponents 154-24.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the entire year, is that the Cubs are silencing teams that can hear.

Keith Adams, head coach, reminded the opposition: “Don’t lower your expectations for us… I hope this is a true demonstration of that.”

Like many great coaches throughout history, Adams’ main goal is to prepare his players for things greater than sports: “My goal is that they believe in themselves. If you can succeed here, you can succeed outside of here. Right? The real world, you’re gonna face adversity just like you do here, what does that mean? You gotta work harder.”

It’s easy to see that the players not only believe in themselves, but in the team that surrounds them. “One take away is this is a team of brothers,” said quarterback and wide receiver Ricardo Terrazas.

Outside of the traditional adversity football players face on the field, the Cubs’ players can’t hear whistles, play-call changes or opposing players.

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But for the Cubs, this is a good thing. As Terrazas puts it, “At the end, we wanna just prove to them, like how’d that smack-talking go for you? Cause we just crushed you!”

Instead, the Cubs rely on hand signals, body language and hard work.

According to Joshua Cypert, wide receiver and quarterback, this only adds fuel to the fire, “That misconception… that view of us, it just has us working harder to prove them wrong. To show them that deaf people can do it.”

Richard Rios, kicker for the Cubs offered this in addition, for anyone who may still have doubts, “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.”

A long list of successful athletes who were also hearing impaired backs that statement up. Some deaf professional athletes include:

  • Tamika Catchings – WNBA legend, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer
  • James Kyte – played nearly 600 games in the NHL
  • Matt Hamill – three-time NCAA Division III National Champion wrestler, UFC light heavyweight division competitor
  • Reed Doughty – former-NFL safety
  • David Smith – 2015 Olympic Volleyball player
  • Ashley Fiolek – X-Games Gold medalist Women’s Moto X Super X
  • Derrick Coleman – former-NFL running back and Super Bowl 48 Champion

The Cubs head into the Semifinals on November 19, where they take on Avalon High School (7-2). Avalon is currently ranked No. 3 in the Southern Section Division 8 Man 2 Football Rankings.

Regardless of the outcome, the players are proud of themselves this season. Cypert said it best, “I’m so proud! I’m so proud to show the world.”

Terrazas wanted to make sure that congratulations aren’t too premature, “Please hold off on the congratulations, because we’re not there yet, but when we are, we’ll take them all day long.”

The Cubs team told CBSLA reporters that in the chance they don’t escape Catalina Island with a victory on Friday night, it’s just another in a long line of life lessons they’ve learned this season – something to add more fuel to their fire.

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With just two seniors on the roster, continued success appears to be in the Cubs future.