Hearty congratulations go to the FSDB Dragons Football team, honored as 8-Man Football National Champions by the National Deaf Interscholastic Athletic Association (NDIAA). In addition to the team award, Head Coach Eric LeFors was named the 8-Man Football Coach of the Year by the NDIAA.
Last month, the FSDB Dragons were also named DeafDigest 8-Man Football National Champions.
FSDB has played 11-man Football since its inception in 1913. After 105 seasons, the school made the switch to eight-man this year based on the number of available and students. The transition has allowed FSDB to play against other schools that are equal in student population size, including deaf schools that also changed to 8-man football.
"This was a magical year on the field," said LeFors. "Everything just came together for us during the season. We all had no idea what to expect as it was our first-ever foray into the 8-man football world."
The Dragons went undefeated during the regular season (7-0), which included victories over the Mississippi School for the Deaf (30-0), Tennessee School for the Deaf (58-12), Louisiana School for the Deaf (42-6), and Alabama School for the Deaf (44-18).
The Dragons also joined the VICIS 8-Man Premier League, which is part of the Sunshine State Athletic Conference (SSAC). FSDB won the East Division and went into the State Tournament as the number one seed, hosting the playoff game on the FSDB campus. The Dragons fell to Harvest Community School (Jacksonville, FL) but gained valuable experience that will prove beneficial for the years to come.
"I’d like to thank SSAC for accepting FSDB into their league and allowing us to schedule games against other deaf schools, which are outside the conference," explained FSDB Athletic Director Donna Johnson
"We would have liked to go further in the playoffs, but this was a season for the ages that the players will never forget," LeFors exclaimed.
The future looks bright for the football program. The entire starting lineup will return next year, including quarterback Matthe Guillou, and running backs Luis Merced and Walter Douglas. The Dragons ground game amassed 2,536 yards for