"Thank you."

I stopped in the middle of wiping of the sweat and grime off of my face. I looked up Sena from my seat on the bench in the locker room.

"What did you say?" I asked in deisbelief.

Whenever the Devil Bats play, one could easily recognize and name all of the players. Except for one, that is. That player would be the fullback. And that fullback happens to be me, Tetsuo Ishimaru. I was always the unknown player on the field. I don't know what it is about me. I could have easily walked off the field, and no one would notice. Not that I expected any different. I played the most thankless position ever played in football.

As I stood behind Hiruma, I knew full well where the defense's attention: On Sena., Eyeshield 21, the same person who got me into playing football. I didn't expect to last this long. I was only supposed become a support player. But Hiruma found some use for me.

I was the unknown of the equation. Teams never had analysis on me. I was the only player in Japan that wasn't even analyzed in the high school football magazines. So on the rare occasion when I do get the ball, teams look at me as if I just appeared out of the shadows. And by the time they actually get some sense to try to stop me, the damage is done. However, that rarely happens because I rarely got the ball. Not that I asked for it. But sometimes I wished I got more credit then I got. Heck, a thank you would more than suffice.


I immediately put my mental grumblings aside.


Right after the hand off, there was blitzing linebacker zeroing in Sena. I immediately dashed forward. As soon as he brought his hands and arms out, I ducked under and pushed my hands on his chest, stalemating him long enough for Sena to escape. He ran to the right, running through an opening between Taki and Toganou. He sped off into the open field. The whole team went into hysterics. Monta jumped up and down while Taki did his usual 180 leg spin. The linemen exchanged high fives while I just stood there with a smile. That was until I noticed Sena slow down a little, seeing . It wouldn't have bothered me too much if it wasn't for the fact that there was still one safety closing in on him. I dashed forward, hearing Juumonji asking where I was going. It was the only thing I could do. No one else seemed to notice, and after Sena, I was the fastest person on the team. I dashed forward, trying my best to catch up.

The safety was faster. But I was faster. Sena looked over to his left, surprised to see someone trying to tackle him. I immediately barreled into the safety, removing the last obstacle in the way.


I stood up, breathing in and out. I looked at the score. 36-35. I gave a bittersweet smile.

"Thank you," Sena said with that trademark smile full of gratitude. "If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have made it into the end zone." I smiled, laughing modestly.

"It's what I'm here -"

Immediately, the sound of that sports reporter coming into the locker room. I handed Sena his helmet and tended to my locker. I didn't hear exactly what the lady said, though I guess she introduced herself and Eyeshield to the camera. I did catch one question.

"What was the key to your final run?"

"Everybody who blocked for me. Especially Ishimaru. It was because of him that was I was able to cross the goal line and escape the last defender."

I turned around and looked at Sena. He nodded first. I then nodded back.

You're welcome.