Special teams are often overlooked, but can change a game in an instant.
Whether it’s with a clutch kick or big return, there are several players in the valley who can make those momentum-turning plays.
Here are the Review-Journal’s top five special teams players entering the season:
Brayden Bayne, Centennial — The senior was 3-for-4 on field goals and 54-for-60 on extra points and had a 36.5-yard average as a punter in 2019 to help the Bulldogs to the Class 4A state championship game.
Trey Balsbaugh, Bishop Gorman — The senior was 24-for-27 on extra points, had a 39.0-yard average as a punter in 2019 and made all five of his extra-point tries in the Gaels’ two games last spring.
D’Andre Washington, Arbor View — The senior averaged 33.8 yards on 10 kickoff returns, including an 80-yarder for a touchdown in 2019. He’s also a two-way starter at running back and defensive back.
Jaxon Young, Durango — The senior had 330 total return yards in 2019, averaged 18.2 yards on 16 kickoff returns. He also had 266 yards and four TDs as a receiver.
Caden Chittenden, Faith Lutheran — The sophomore has yet to kick for a full season, but was 15-for-17 on extra points during the Crusaders’ four games last spring.
High school top 5
This is the seventh in a series listing the top five high school football players in the valley at their positions:
■ Saturday — Wide receivers
■ Sunday — Defensive backs
■ Monday — Linebackers
■ Tuesday — Running backs
■ Wednesday — Defensive linemen
■ Thursday — Offensive linemen
■ Friday — Special teams
■ Saturday — Quarterbacks