Senior Spotlight: Antonio Martinez


by Luke Florence, Reporter

As the 2021 Palo Verde football season comes to an end, we will see many senior football athletes move on to start graduating. Antonio Martinez, one of the Defensive Tackles for Palo, is planning to go to CSN after graduating from high school.

Martinez has always been a part of sports since he was a child, but once he got into high school, the motivation to play sports was lost. He began to focus on academics more.

Many of Martinez’s close friends encouraged him to get back on the field, knowing the great player he would be. He finally made the choice to begin playing again, and right away, he knew he made the best decision.

It isn’t a secret that becoming a student athlete comes with a very busy schedule. Handling assignments, grades, practice, and all the added stress that simultaneously builds up can make it extremely difficult to excel in all areas.

Martinez uses his family as motivation to push himself to become a student athlete. His Grandpa, one of his motivations, makes him strive to be a better person for his family and for his teammates.

Antonio stated after being asked if his family is his biggest role model, “Yes, they do a lot for me and all I want to do is give back. I want to help out with anything they need.”

Being the new guy on the team came with some struggles, such as not knowing the plays as much as other teammates. Antonio took this as a challenge. 

The challenges and all the punishments allowed him to build a stronger brotherly bond with all his teammates, as well as getting better as a player. He appreciates his teammates for the tough love as it made him ready for what football will bring. 

The wear and tear on your body, the competitiveness on the field, and controlling the emotion in games was shown in practice. Being the new guy, he had to work twice as hard. Martinez, knowing how behind he was in the beginning season, took his time and was patient with learning and perfecting his craft. From staying after practice when he was exhausted, to studying plays he couldn’t understand at times, he took every step to improving his game.

Antonio said, “They were seeing what I was made out of to join this group… I am glad they did it because it made me tougher mentally.” 

Palo Verde prides itself on our “Panther Pride”, which was felt when Antonio joined the team. Everyday he walked through the doors, he felt more connected to the school. Friends and teachers wished him luck before the game and congratulated them after they won the game. The panther pride that this school showed Antonio motivated him to give that much more on the field and in the classroom. 

Antonio Martinez has left no regrets at Palo Verde. He will graduate as a panther this 2022 summer. He will enroll in CSN to either pursue crime and justice or to find a job in fitness. He will look back at his Palo Verde days with a smile and reminisce about the games on Friday nights.