Barajas Sets Sights on League Title

Photo courtesy of Joel Sanchez

El Monte’s Roy Barajas.

Steven Mercado
July 2, 2014 • 562 views

El Monte running back Roy Barajas holds a goal for the 2014-15 season: to be the best player in the Mission Valley League this season.
“I’m going to try to rush for thousand yards this year and have a thousand receiving yards,” he said.
But that is the most you will hear him say about it.
Barajas was the brightest spot for El Monte in the 2013 season — a season Barajas called “embarrassing.” The soft-spoken sophomore led the Lion’s offense in numbers with 612 rushing yards and 883 receiving yards, but also led by example.
According to El Monte head coach Joel Sanchez, Barajas never complains and speaks through his actions rather than through words.
“He’s a kid that comes in, he’ll lift, he’ll get the gear out, go to the field and if you don’t talk to him, you’re not going to know he’s there,” Sanchez said. “He’s just going to be there working. He’s not going to complain if you throw the ball over his head, or short, or if you don’t give him the ball, he’s going to do his thing everyday.”
Barajas speaks with a game that is multi-faceted. Sanchez used him out of the backfield, as a slot receiver, a kick returner and a linebacker. Barajas scored four touchdowns on the ground, caught three touchdown passes on the season and registered 12 tackles in the two games he started at linebacker to end the season.
“It makes it more difficult on the defense when you put a guy in the slot that’s hard to cover and the next play he’s at running back,” Sanchez said. “You got to keep the defense guessing and they have to account for him every single time … The same thing with him on defense. He’s an athlete and he’s going to find the ball.”
According to Sanchez, Barajas’ athleticism plays a big part in his success.
“He’s fast. He’s very strong for his size, he breaks tackles like nothing and that was last year as a sophomore who wasn’t very strong,” Sanchez said. “You see now, he fills in pretty good for his size.”
Barajas described himself as a hard-worker who hates losing. According to Sanchez, he cares about his teammates and wants the best for them.
“I have to be a good leader to demonstrate to my fellow teammates that I could strive and want to win and have a good season, unlike last year,” Barajas said. “It was not a good experience for me. This year, I’m going to try my best to get the offense going and every time I get the ball, try to get those long rushing touchdowns. Our goal is to win the Mission Valley League title.”
One of the biggest problems for El Monte last season was their team chemistry, according to Sanchez. After approximately only three weeks of practices, the head coach said they are “already a closer-knit team than we were the year before because we have so [many players] back this year.”
For Barajas, “the sky’s the limit,” Sanchez said.
“I see what he did last year in the midst of being behind a lot. We didn’t have the ball a lot and we didn’t score a lot … and he still put up those numbers,” Sanchez said. “Teams knew he was our primary target on offense, but he was still able to do what he did. I’m very excited to see him play this year.”

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