CATALINA ISLAND (CBSLA) – The Cubs are just one win away from history.
One win away from the first Southern Section Division 2 8-Man Football Title in the school’s 60-plus year history.
One win away from memories that will last them a lifetime – cementing brotherhood bonds that were already strong due to their shared adversity.
One win away from an underdog story you only hear about on the silver screen.
They may just be one win away from all of those things, but this season is already a victory for the deaf community.
The Cubs are an inspiration to all, showing strength in the face of adversity and proving that their abilities outweigh their disabilities.
The California School for the Deaf – Riverside is now 12-0 and in the midst of a sensational season. Thus far, they have outscored their opponents 788-219, averaging 66 points a game.
As the saying goes, talent knows no bounds. It just took the right group of people to come together and shock the world.
Led by head coach Keith Adams, who’s modus operandi is to prepare these young men for the future, especially with the extra challenges they may face, the Cubs are learning lesson after lesson on the gridiron.
For Adams, this season has always been bigger than a string of twelve straight wins:
“My goal is that they believe in themselves. If you can succeed here, you can succeed outside of here.”
For some players, their integration onto a team of people who face similar adversity has been life changing.
Friday night’s game on Catalina Island proved to be no different.
Especially for Felix Gonzales, who started his football career playing on a hearing team where he was the only deaf player. It was hard for him to communicate with teammates and coaches, and his performance suffered. This led to his transfer to the California School for the Deaf.
Since then, things couldn’t be better for Gonzales. This season, he had hauled in 15 touchdowns on 29 receptions, totaling 524 yards heading into the Semifinals matchup. He added at least one touchdown to his season totals in Friday night’s victory.
The Cubs jumped ahead to a 48-3 lead in the first half of their Semifinals game against No. 3 ranked Avalon High School, getting just enough from their offense in the second half of the matchup. Avalon made things close in the second half, scoring 32 third quarter points and 16 fourth quarter points, but the Cubs would hold on, sending the team to their first Division Title Game appearance in school history.
“We didn’t give up in the second half. That’s victory! That’s a win for us. We’re into the championship game and that’s a thrill,” said Gonzales after the game.
Another lesson to learn: take victories in every form they come in, no matter how big or small they may be.
This season may already be considered a win for many, but that doesn’t mean the Cubs are done hunting for a title just yet.
“I’m looking for that ring. We really want a win,” said junior tight end and defensive lineman Christian Jimenez.