There was a distinctive air of defeat pervading the room when Davis High’s wrestling squad trudged away from a 72-0 defeat at the hands of powerful Elk Grove on Wednesday night.
It was clear that the Blue Devils were reeling long after their 10th and final contender fell in his bout, completing the Thundering Herd’s sweep on DHS turf.
And Ty Brown, head coach for the local matmen, is not one for denial; he may have been the first to utter what was on spectators’ minds.
“As soon as we got in that room, I said, ‘Raise your hand if you think we received a butt kickin’ today,’ ” Brown told The Enterprise following a postgame chat with his squad. “We could all agree on that.”
But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to subscribe to a losing attitude, or count the Devils out of contention in the Delta Valley Conference after just the second league match of the 2012-13 campaign.
“I also told them, ‘It’s how you respond to it that makes all the difference,’ ” he added.
The contest began in the 113-pound division, with DHS fielding one of its most veteran wrestlers, junior Elias LoBuono-Gonzalez. He faced a freshman from Elk Grove, Jesse Arroyo, who made his talents quickly apparent with a take-down and subsequent near-fall by the minute mark.
After battling hard, the Blue Devil fell in the third round — a narrative that stayed consistent throughout the night. All but one bout ended in pins by the Thundering Herd, with some coming as early as the first round. As for points, DHS recorded less than 10 in matches throughout the contest.
Brown, however, found silver lining in the loss. It takes experiencing the top competition in the DVC, he explained, to be able to reach that upper echelon.
“It’s actually a great way to open up league play at home,” Brown said. “I mean, it’s a tough path, but we’re up to it. Obviously, that didn’t show on the scoreboard (Wednesday), but we had some good moments.”
Brown went on to cite the willpower of Devin Sanchez, Marvin Grant and Jake Hammond, who — even in defeat — demonstrated an ability to succeed.
“Going out there and getting your butt kicked is always tough,” Brown said. “We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores out there competing, and they had a lot of juniors and seniors.
“Our young guys kind of took it on the chin (Wednesday). I think in a couple of years, when we have the juniors and seniors, we’ll see some better competition between these teams.”
The next test for the local matmen, is another experienced group from Monterey Trail, which will be at DHS next Wednesday night at 6 p.m.
Brown recognizes, once more, that his Blue Devils will be at a disadvantage in seniority ± and he’s just as unconcerned.
“We’re a young team, and we know that, but we’re not gonna back down from any challenges,” he said. “Our goal is to see the best. No true competitor backs down from a challenge, no matter the odds.”
— Reach Brett Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett