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School for Deaf runs table

BY EVELYN LAU | DECEMBER 16, 2009 7:30 AM

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The record books will remember the 2009 Bobcats.

The Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs pulled off an undefeated season, going 8-0 for the first time in school history. The Bobcats played deaf teams from around the country, as well as junior-varsity squads from nearby high schools.

“We just had an excellent group of kids,” school Athletics Director Michael Shannon said. “They all worked together, and played together, and that was their goal.”

Governed by the state Board of Regents, the Iowa School for the Deaf is the only school in the state that specifically caters to deaf and hard-of-hearing students and receives some state funding.

Senior wide receiver and safety Peter Schwietz has attended the institution throughout his high-school tenure. Because the state of Nebraska lacks a school to accommodate his condition, Schwietz and his family moved from Omaha to Council Bluffs five years ago.

Through the last four years, Schwietz and his senior teammates have come a long way.

During their freshman year in 2006, the Bobcats won three games. The next year, they went 6-3 and did so again in Schwietz’s junior season.

However, this year the 8-man football roster managed to go an impressive 8-0, winning by a 44-point average margin of victory.

For Schwietz, he couldn’t have imagined a better way to end his last final few months on the gridiron.

“I’m so happy with my team. Most of us played together through middle school to now,” the two-time Deaf All-American said. “We know each other really well, and we know how strong we are when we work together. We made school history this year by [going] undefeated and [having] two teams give up at half time.”

Clues of a potentially special season included beating opponents from seasons past that had previously routed the Bobcats.

After losing to the Colorado School for the Deaf, 44-22, last year, the team gained redemption with a 52-20 victory on Sept. 12. That hard work paid off as the Bobcats were crowed the Great Plains Schools for the Deaf conference champions for the first time since 2001.

The Bobcats were also named the Deaf 8-man Football Team of the Year by Deaf Digest, an honor last bestowed on the program in 1988.

While the Iowa School for the Deaf displayed dominance in its games, it’s not eligible for postseason play because it does not play in a district. However, its schedule still allows for out-of-state play, which is something Schwietz enjoys.

“Scoring the touchdowns, going to other states to play, and the coaches are the best things [about being on the team],” he said.

For his mother, Holly Schwietz, playing football has given her child an opportunity to play a game even deafness couldn’t take away.

“I’m extremely proud of my son and the whole team,” she said. “They really pulled a great season out. It was just an incredibly proud moment when all of the seniors walked out as captains, arm in arm, for the coin flip. It was just an accumulation of a lot hard work.”


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