High school football is challenging enough, even with a fully-stocked team of jumbo-sized players.
The Eagles of Fremont have neither. The team has just 19 players, leaving many to cover both offense and defense. On top of that, the students are smaller than their opponents, with each player weighing in at less than 200 pounds.
Despite these seemingly overwhelming disadvantages, the California School for the Deaf’s Eagles just finished their season 10-2, setting a single-season record for wins.
And did I not mention? The entire Eagles team and their head coach are completely deaf.
Like all sports, football requires intense concentration and reliance on a combination of sensory cues. Try playing football if you can’t hear anything.
The Eagles play the game totally sans auditory input. And ironically, many of these adaptations may help give the team their edge. They use a combination of color-coded boards and American Sign Language to communicate plays.
In order to make up for their smaller-than-average size, the Eagles utilize a no-huddle offense to exhaust their opponents. This rapid-fire approach, along with an inability for opponents to understand calls made by coaches and team members certainly puts opposing teams on edge during play.
One opposing team’s coach described them as “one of the most disciplined teams we play.”
To cap off a plot line worthy of next summer’s “feel-good movie of the year!” title, it seems fitting that the Eagles were up for special recognition at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year ceremony, which could include a $25,000 grant.
Quarterback Carlos Lopez told The Argus:
“Some might call us disabled, but that can be extra motivation for us. Some of us might feel hurt or angry [by that], but when it comes time to play the game, we prove them wrong and we earn their respect.”