It’s nearing sunset at PCC’s Robinson Stadium as the school’s football team is midway through a Thursday night practice, and tonight you’ll witness a rare occurrence on the sidelines: Hector “Monte” Palacios taking a break.
Palacios stepped aside from the field to discuss his love for the game and what drives him to go the extra mile for football. Palacios, a second year linebacker at Pasadena City College, is a standout player both at Pasadena and beyond. His stats speak for themselves, with a total of 7.5 sacks thus far in the season, earning him a top spot in the state.
Regardless of his standings, Palacios continues to work his hardest to improve his game.
“If I’m in the weight room, it doesn’t matter if I’m the leading sack holder right now,” said Palacios. “I’m still going to be in there all the time, I’m going to be doing extra sprints.”
Palacios’ teammate, freshman linebacker Frank Coleman, repeated a similar sentiment regarding Palacios’ contributions to the team.
“His heart and his character are there. He gives 110% effort. He’s willing to let younger guys like me get opportunities as well,” Coleman said.
In spite of his dominant status on the field, the 19-year-old Granada Hills native has always been hungry to prove himself, especially due to the 5’7’’ sophomore being smaller in stature.
“I’ve always felt like people overlooked me,” Palacios said.
Once seeing him in person, people are often surprised at his size due to his strength on the field.
“People tell me all the time, ‘I thought you were way bigger,” Palacios explained.
Palacios, whose given name is Hector, after his father, credits his family and upbringing for developing his work ethic that has brought him to the top of his game.
“I grew up in a household where we pushed each other, and my dad pushes himself all the time,” Palacios said. “So I’m always in the weight room, always running, always trying to do extra.”
From a young age, Palacios was active and participated in numerous sports, including baseball, basketball, soccer, and wrestling. His love and enjoyment for football, however, is what made this game prevail over all others.
“There’s just nothing like it. You get a big, big rush. I love it. I love everything about it,” Palacios said.
Palacios has taken on the role of team captain in his second year of PCC football, and this position has allowed him to grow even more and develop his leadership skills.
“I like the role. I think the best way to lead people is by example,” Palacios detailed.
As Palacios is nearing transferring to a four year university, he says he has high hopes for the rest of PCC’s season, with his top goal being “definitely to win league.”
Regardless of the season outcome, his impact and legacy at PCC will be felt and remembered by the entire football program in the years ahead.
“Hector represents what our program is all about: Opportunity, hard work, and perseverance in earning an associate’s degree and being able to transfer to a 4-year school. Hector has done these and more. To us, he is a foundation for our program for years to come,” said PCC head football coach Steven Mojarro.
Beyond the field, Palacios feels he has taken away numerous life lessons from football that he’ll utilize throughout his future.
“[I’ve learned] to never quit, always be mentally tough even when things aren’t going well, and not letting problems or issues in your life dictate your attitude towards anything,” Palacios said.
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