Bonita Springs junior doubles as a defensive end and marching band member

Author: Zach Oliveri
Published: Updated:

There are lots of two-way players in high school football. That means a guy who plays offense and defense. Then there’s Bonita Springs junior Henry Palacios-Martinez. He plays defensive end for the football team. He also plays the clarinet for the marching band.

“I get so hyped up for doing both: Football and marching band,” Palacios-Martinez said.

Henry picked up the clarinet well before he put on the pads. He said being in the band actually helps him on the field.

“With football, it’s helped me like allow me to be more coordinated with marching band,” Palacios-Martinez explained. “Getting my steps right and marching. With marching band, I’ve been able to focus more in football like with hand eye coordination.”

Between both, the junior practices between 12 to 15 hours a week. Something the school’s Director of Performing Arts Sean Bradley knows too well. He did both in high school too.

“There’s a lot of things you can learn in athletics: discipline, teamwork and the importance of also time management of course,” Bradley explained. “And the arts, you learn humanity. You learn how to express yourself and make things beautiful. And like create from your soul.”

Bradley said he’s seen Henry grow as a leader by bringing a team element to the band.

“He’s learned to take charge, take control and dive into things,” Bradley said. “And I think you get that from both sides. But I really see it his bringing the feel of the locker room into the band room and really helping the people around him grow.”

(NAT POP) practice

“I think it takes a very special person to be able to juggle both,” Bonita Springs head coach Rich Dombroski said. “Cause the demands on the marching band are probably as probably more than the demands of football. You know they practice all the time.”

All to perform at halftime Friday nights.

“Although sometimes it can be a bit stressful, overall, for me, it’s really I always feel so happy doing it,” Palacios-Martinez said.

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