Fremont deaf high school football team in national spotlight

- The California School for the Deaf's football team in Fremont is in the national spotlight. The Eagles 10th game of the season was broadcast nationally on ESPN2 Thursday evening.

KTVU spoke with a deaf player and the head coach with the help of a sign language interpreter.

It was Thursday night lights with the Eagles, a team with all deaf players and coaches playing against a hearing team from the Sacramento area the Woodland Christian.
 
The Eagles say they're no different than players who can hear. One deaf player says he sees no limit.

"People look at us as a disability, but really we're not. It's considered a disability but we're not," says 17-year-old Esau Zornoza who plays wide receiver for the Eagles.

But in one sense, they are different in the way they communicate with each other: an unspoken language of gestures, signaling a bond among brothers.

"Team work; we have to work hard with each other. We have to have that bond. We have that common goal," says Zornoza.
 
When the referee blows the whistle, the Eagles can't hear but their experience comes into play and the players on the opposing team signals the Eagles.
 
"They know to raise their hands when a play stops and our boys usually have that gut instinct that senses. It's something you can't teach," says Warren Keller, the Eagles head coach.

Lessons learned on the field include confidence, teamwork, and overcoming challenges.

The Eagles are in the national spotlight. ESPN aired their game live in part because of their stellar record— 9 wins and one loss including Thursday's game and the Eagle's unique ability to communicate.
 
"If you watch them, they just play like anybody else, any hearing person," says Kristina Asencio, parent of a deaf player.
 
The Eagles hopes their ability to play the game well speaks volumes.

"We're just like anybody else. The only thing we can't do is hear. If you can learn you can do anything,"says Coach Keller.
 
The Eagles won Thursday's game against the Woodland Christian in a blowout. The final score was 43 to 0.

The Eagles have one more regular season game to go. They are expected to make the playoffs.
 


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