Friday Night Frights

On this Halloween night when kids transform themselves into ghouls and ghosts for a night of tricks and treats, one high school football player from southern California does not need a costume to inspire fear. All he needs is his helmet and shoulder pads and the ball in his hands and opposing defense start losing their nerve.

Running back, wide receiver, and return man Ryan Kessman has become the corporeal manifestation of defensive coordinators' fears all season long. Simply put, Kessman is his opponents' worst nightmare.

San Jacinto High School has played in eight games but Kessman has been fully healthy in only four of those contests.

"I have 59 carries for 701 rushing yards [a 11.88 average per carry] and 12 touchdowns in four games," said Kessman. "I've played in a total of six games but I've rushed in only four. The other games I just went in for a couple of plays because of my hamstring. I missed two games Aquinas and Beaumont High Schools."

On top of his outstanding rushing performances, the San Jacinto monster has also gotten it done through the air with 13 receptions for 167 yards for an average of 12.85 yards per catch. Kessman is expected to play receiver when he enrolls at BYU this January.

After a zombie like start, Kessman and his teammates cut through Banning High School – the same high school that produced former USC offensive guard Fred Matua – on its way to a 46-20 final score.

"We came into the game underestimating them because they had a record of 0-7," Kessman said. "With us being 6 and 1 they stayed in the game until pretty much the third quarter. We came out after the third quarter and just let them know that we're taking it serious now. I had seven rushes for 161 yards and five receptions for 69 yards."

Kessman also had a total of 91 yards on two kick returns and one punt return. He even got the chance to punt the ball. With a booming spiral, Kessman ended up recording San Jacinto High School's second longest ever.

"I had one punt for 59 yards that went out into the back of the end zone," Kessman said. "It was a spiral and it was pretty cool. I think that was the second longest punt in school history. The farthest punt was a 79-yard punt with a roll by Josh Houston."

Kessman was nominated as an All-American candidate for special teams, and although San Jacinto coaches can add his punting skills to an already long list of capabilities, the nomination was not for punting the football but rather for his return skills.

"I guess I was nominated up there for an All-American selection for special teams in kick off returns," Kessman said. "However, they haven't been kicking off to me at all this year. When I do get it, I end up scoring or gaining a lot of yards but we've had a few penalties that have brought those back."

Prior to the Banning High School massacre, Kessman cut threw his opponents like a chain saw. He had 204 yards on 15 carries against Citrus Hill High School, 10 carries for 160 yards against Village Christian, and 19 carries for 185 yards against Yucca Valley.

Next in line for the football field of horrors is Twenty-nine Palms High School.

"We play Twenty-nine Palms High School this Friday," Kessman said. "They're supposed to be pretty good. Their linebacker, number 32, is pretty good, and number 65, who is a defensive lineman, is pretty good. He's a Polynesian lineman and is around 6-3, 350 pounds. He's a big dude."

So on this Halloween night of frights and candy delights, San Jacinto mad man Ryan Kessman will get together with a high school teammate and his younger brother for some casual trick-or-treating. Striking fear in the hearts of opposing defensive coordinators on the field, will Kessman take on a monstrous alter ego off the field for tonight festivities?

"I'm going out as Tigger from Winnie the Pooh," chuckled Kessman. "One of my buddies Ryan Oakley on the football team got Winnie the Pooh and his little brother Nick is going out as Elmo. It's pretty funny."

Well, one cannot be a monster all the time.

To witness first hand Kessman transforming from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, click on Kessman's latest highlight video clip link below.

Kessman Highlight Video


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