Here is a shout out to some local players who didn't necessarily get a huge part of the limelight during the area fall sports season, but were surely properly appreciated by their teammates.

Cade England, Hancock College football

Boy, will the Bulldogs miss this guy.

England finished his distinguished two-year career as Hancock's punter-kickoff man in Hancock's 14-9 win over Mt. San Jacinto College in the Western State Bowl last Saturday night.

Much of this year, opposing return men simply stood as England's kickoffs sailed far into the end zone for touchbacks. Good hang time typified his well-angled punts. England was also a reliable holder for Hancock place kicker Edgar Zacarias this past season.

England saved some of his best work for last. Mt. San Jacinto's return yardage on four England punts was a grand total of minus three. With the final punt of his Hancock career, England forced the Eagles to start on their own 8. Mt. San Jacinto's last-ditch drive fizzled at the Hancock 36 when EJ Barrera broke up the fourth-down pass.

England even acquitted himself well on one of his (very) few "lowlights" this year. That came during Hancock's 23-7 loss to Citrus – the last loss of the year the Bulldogs would incur before going on a seven-game winning streak.

The long snap sailed far over England's head, and England had to go deep into his own end zone to corral the football. When he did, Owls were bearing down on him.

Other punters in that situation might have panicked and tried to make a play that wasn't really there. England took the best that he could likely get, wisely going down in the end zone for a safety.

Eva Datuin, St. Joseph girls tennis

The St. Joseph senior had a clear preference for playing doubles. And she was quite good at it, giving the Knights steady points as a doubles player.

However, injuries forced Datuin to play singles later in the season. Unfazed, she played both ways, in singles and doubles, at that point in the year.

During the Knights' playoff run in which they reached the CIF Central Section Division 2 title match, Datuin won all three of her playoff singles matches at the No. 6 position.

She also helped the Knights gain a three-way share of the Mountain League title.

Brooke Stewart, Hancock women's soccer

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She had not been a full-time goalkeeper in past seasons. In fact, Stewart had a significant background as a field position player, as well as a goalkeeper.

Stewart stepped into the goalie position full time this year. The result? Stewart had a goals-against average of 1.48 in her 22 games in the net. She helped the 2019 team become the first Hancock women's soccer squad in school history to qualify for the post-season.

Shanyce Valadez, Righetti girls volleyball

The Warriors had some big hitters this year, but someone has to set big hitters up if they are going to produce.

Valadez, Righetti's senior setter, was often that someone for the Warriors. She had more than 1,000 assists on the year, and averaged slightly more than eight a set, as the Warriors reached the Central Section Division 2 championship match.

Valadez also led the team in aces, with 74. Righetti won two matches in the Southern Regional of the state tournament before going out at top-ranked Nordhoff in the regional semis.

Can't wait for this one

The team match-up for this Dec. 1 NFL game, the San Francisco 49ers (10-1) at the Baltimore Ravens (9-2) is intriguing enough, but there's also a dandy subplot.

49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh can game plan with the best of them. What scheme, or schemes, will he unveil to try to help his top flight unit slow down the Ravens' dynamic, do-it-all quarterback Lamar Jackson, who some consider to be the leading MVP candidate at this time?

I can't wait to find out what the answer is. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. Pacific Time in Baltimore.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.