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School for the Deaf Is Near Title : Football: Despite loss to Montclair Prep, Cubs can still clinch first Freedom League championship.


RIVERSIDE — Ken Maraj is like any other football coach.

He yells, he instructs, he encourages. He even gives pep talks at halftime.

Some might find that unusual--Maraj coaches at the California School for the Deaf.

Maraj makes it clear that his team is no different than any other.

"The only thing we can't do," he said before Thursday's 38-0 loss to Montclair Prep, "is audibilize."

The Cubs do have to make one other adjustment, scheduling their games on Thursdays because students go home every Friday afternoon after spending the school week on campus.

One other inconvenience--the Cubs, who dip into a small talent pool of 125 high school students, sometimes find themselves short-handed thanks to injuries and stringent academic standards.

Langston Adams, normally the team's right guard, started against Montclair at fullback, jersey No. 66 and all.

Jesse Macias, usually the Cubs' center, was pressed into quarterback duties due to a lack of bodies.

Did Macias feel frustrated because of the team's non-audibilizing? No. Any problems with the silent snap count? No. Any miscommunications in the huddle? Again, no.

Despite Thursday's setback, the Cubs, now 4-3-1, can clinch the Freedom League championship with a victory over Twin Pines next week. It would be the first football title since the school's creation in 1953.

"The whole year is on the line," Maraj said. "The championship, a winning record, everything's there. I won't have to get them up for that one."


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