By Vern Hee
The sweat drips from his head. He wipes the blood from his brow. There are smashed Christmas presents on the ground and maybe even some broken furniture.
Kyle Daffer has survived another wrestling match, but this one was not at school, it was in his living room. His brothers were home for Christmas and wrestlemania had come to the Daffer house, again, to the dismay of mom.
The Daffer brothers were home for the holidays and Kyle Daffer, a junior Trojans varsity wrestler, who weighs in at about 6′ 1″ and 270 pounds, was wrestling his older brothers, Kody, Kory and his younger brother Kevin. Kody and Kory are both over 300 pounds. This is a common occurrence during the holidays. This is just training for Kyle.
Kyle has worked hard this year to learn how to wrestle and win in the heavyweight division at the varsity level.
He comes from a big wrestling family. Before him, his brother Kory wrestled heavyweights, and before that his brother Kody and still before that his father.
Each of those family members has played a role in his wrestling education.
The main coach throughout his life has been his father, Marty.
“My father tried wrestling in high school, but did not get really good at it until he wrestled in college. That’s where he learned to be good at it. Ever since then, my dad has been prepping us. My dad is my main drive to get better. I feel I am living my dad’s dream out and I feel that I am the way my father can still be a great wrestler, through me,” he remarked.
Marty goes to all the matches he can. He is a big guy at about 6-4. He wrestled in college for two years.
“Wrestling started in this town in 1978 when I was a freshman. I was the first one to go four years at the school. What wrestling does, it becomes a source of identity for a kid in high school. After going through a workout in wrestling practice, you can not help but feel good about yourself, just because you survived it. It is a cut above any other workout. It has done for my boys everything I wanted it to do. It made them feel good about themselves,” said Marty.
In the past years, wrestling has not been kind to Kyle. This year has been different because he has been wrestling with confidence. Confidence developed last year with the help of his brother, Kory, who graduated last year.
“I have always been the weaker one and last year I was wrestling defensively. Now I realize that I am actually pretty good at what I do. I realized that this year. My brother last year had strength and size on me and he would wrestle me and just beat me up every day in practice. I would just try not to get pinned. All last year he was toughening me up,” remarked Kyle.
Kyle’s record last year was nothing to write home about. In the Mohave Invitational Kyle went 0-7. In the same tournament this year it was a complete turnaround.
“Last year at Mohave no wins. Last year I just said ‘please don’t kill me’. Last year I was not in it for the win. I was just there to survive and see how good I can do against everyone else. It was not good, but for my standards it was. This year I went 4-3 and finished fourth at the same Mohave tournament. The difference this year is confidence,” Kyle remarked.
He believes all the work done on the mat practicing with his brother Kory has paid off.
“This year me being the top heavyweight wrestler, I am now the guy beating people up. I am pinning everyone. This year I am going for the win. I am going for the pin. I want to go to state,” he said.
Kyle said all the years getting pinned by his brothers have made him a better wrestler from the ground. He spent a lot of time on the ground and he has developed all his current strategy around being on the ground.
“Kory made me cry during my freshman year. That was good for me. My brother would pound on me and would just brutally beat me both at home and on the mat. I couldn’t go to Dad because that is what he wanted him to do. The goal was to toughen me up. Kory found six different ways of drilling his chin or hands into my body. He did it to just hurt me but he taught me how not to get pinned,” he said.
So, the young heavyweight developed strategies of wrestling that involved other wrestlers being on top.
“My brother taught me to roll someone off my body. Usually, I get taken down. I wrestle better on the ground. I let the opponent think he is beating me to a pulp. I let him think he has me and can do whatever he wants. Then the second period comes I get a head lever and pin,” he said.
The big guy slowly has pieced this technique together.
“I just tried the head lever this year. Last year I had no moves and just reacted to the opponent. It was during practice I would run this and the coaches agreed that it was a good move for me and that is how I developed this,” commented Kyle.
With his goal set on making state, Kyle has turned to college wrestler and former Trojan Frank Lopez for help. Lopez has been in town helping out the wrestling team with tips.
“I look up to college wrestlers like Frank Lopez. He showed me some moves. He comes to practice just to work with us. With me he helps me get better by pointing out my flaws in my stance and wrestling,” said the state hopeful.
Kyle will be the heavyweight at 285 pounds for the Trojans entering into the divisional battle, which starts on Feb. 1 at Mojave High School. The top wrestlers in each class will go to state.