Deaf football team in California wins big

They stand 19 strong, led by a head coach who decided to switch up practice and play philosophy in his first year with them. This season it was clear they felt there was something to prove: They could beat Bay Area teams who might’ve thought they had the edge.

And prove they did. The Eagles football team clinched the North Central II -Bay League title. What’s more – every player and their head coach, Warren Keller, are deaf.

In his first year at the helm, Keller led his team to a 10-2 victory, clinching the North Central II-Bay League for the California School for the Deaf in Fremont.

They beat out other teams who did not have to deal with the same disadvantages.

In fact, not only did the Eagles have to overcome playing and connecting without the use of their voices, but they had a challenge in battling size.

Coach Keller recalled one of his team’s biggest opponents — Richmond High.

“People weren’t sure if we could handle the big boys,” laughed Keller. “Half their team was probably over 200 pounds; on our team, nobody’s over 200 pounds.”

Junior Trace Martin added that his coach played to the team’s strengths of being smaller but quicker on the field. “This year we played like Oregon, the University of Oregon. We just keep moving. There’s no huddle, just constantly moving.”

Then the young coach, just 26 years old, recalled another prime moment this season. Their victory against Tomales High.

“The boys were really excited. We haven’t beaten that school in a long time, maybe 40 years.”

This season, they beat them — twice.

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