Don't you just love an underdog story? In the Year of Covid, a football team from the Texas School For The Deaf has made it to their division's state championship, and you know what that means: A chance for football history. From NBC's Today Show:
"A high school football team in Texas will be playing for its first state championship tonight. Their road to the title game historic in more ways than one. NBC's Morgan Chesky is in Austin with the story. Hi, Morgan. Good morning," Savannah Guthrie said.
"Nothing quite like Texas high school football playoffs, and the Rangers have been pulling long hours getting ready for tonight's state championship game. This team, unlike any other team in the state, has a unique opportunity to shine on one of high school's biggest stages. Huddled up and ready to roll, the Rangers hoping practice makes perfect for tonight's state title game," Morgan Chesky.
"The practice -- in nearly complete silence. No whistles, no yelling. just football. That's because everyone on the field from the players to the coaches, is deaf or hard of hearing."
"Is everybody here ready to play in a state championship?"
"For me, I'm just happy. I think it's great experience for us. We have worked for it. We have arrived."
"The Texas School for the Deaf, one win from making history, in a season almost sacked by a pandemic."
"It's just amazing because I seriously considered canceling the whole football program this year."
"Superintendent Claire Bugen says the team faced two foes, covid-19 and a depleted roster, without enough players for an 11-man team. The solution: drop divisions and play six-man football. Head coach John Moore."
"Everything was new. The rules were new, the field was new. The field is no longer 100 yards. I mean, we're changing down to 80 yards. So that changes our whole game."
"Changes the team took in stride," Chesky said.
"We're like, we're in the season. It doesn't matter. We're six on six, we'll take it."
"Beating high schools all across football-obsessed Texas and introducing opponents to their sideline drum."
"To make sure no one jumps offside, they came up with a bat, a drum, and a beat count. While you can't hear it, you can certainly feel it," Chesky said.
"Oh, yeah. Everybody can feel it. All of us. The referees hate it. Because the drum is right behind the referee. And you see them just each time, you see them flinch. So maybe we need to have more deaf referees," the coach said.
"Now with football immortality on the line, team captains ready."
"We want that state championship ring. We need to make sure we don't lose that momentum. We need to keep the fire burning."
"And with a victory tonight, it would mark the first state title in this school's 160-year history, and as a news guy, I know we're supposed to stay unbiased. But after seeing the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding this team, I just have one message for the players and the coaches I had the privilege of meeting, and that is, thank you Rangers, and good luck."