Riverside deaf football team falls short of state championship after inspiring undefeated season

KABC logo
Sunday, November 28, 2021
EMBED <>More Videos

The California School for the Deaf in Riverside will not get to play in a state championship, following a season that has electrified spectators.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- An inspirational season came to a close for a local deaf high school football team that electrified spectators in California and beyond.

The California School for the Deaf in Riverside will not get to play in a state championship. The team fell 74-22 to Faith Baptist Saturday night at the CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship.

Until then, the school had been undefeated, winning all 11 games against hearing teams. Last week, the Cubs Varsity football team won the division champion game, which a first in the school's 68-year history.

"We can do anything. Deaf people can do anything. We're not this stereotype that's out there," running back Enos Zornoza said after the team's win on Nov. 19.

The players and coaches rely on American Sign Language to communicate and spoke with ABC7 through an ASL translator.

This was the first time the school has ever had a winning season, sometimes going entire seasons without one win.

They're the only all-deaf public high school team in Southern California, and they sign the plays to each other without the other team understanding. Their coach also uses sign language from the sidelines.