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March 4, 2005

Deaf gridders applauded

From: Press-Enterprise - Riverside,CA,USA - Mar 4, 2005

The Press-Enterprise

RIVERSIDE - The California School for the Deaf football team was honored by the Riverside City Council on Feb. 8 for making the community proud and becoming San Joaquin League champions.

The mayor read excerpts from a Sports Illustrated column on the Cubs and a proclamation from the council. The proceedings were translated into sign language for the coaches and about a half dozen team members present.

"The team did a fabulous job last season," coach Len Gonzales told the crowd using sign language, working hard on academics as well as football. "We've met challenges and everyone has a great attitude against hearing schools."

Gonzales, the offensive and defensive coordinators, and the team members, all in their red, white and black team jerseys, introduced themselves to the council and audience.

"I'm thrilled to be on this football team," said team member David Guzman in sign language.

The team previously received tickets to the Rose Bowl game courtesy of ESPN and Citi, and was filmed for a commercial sponsored by Citi that aired during the game.

The Cubs clinched their first league title in the school's 51-year history in November with a victory over Riverside's Sherman Indian High School.

Despite their loss to Malibu in the first round of the Division 13 playoffs in late November, the team was the subject of the Sports Illustrated article and made appearances on CNN and NBC's "Today Show."

"You've made us proud as a community," Mayor Ron Loveridge said at the meeting, "and we take pride in your accomplishments."

Staff writer Doug Haberman contributed to this report.

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