Ricks thrashes foe in Real Dairy Bowl

POCATELLO, Idaho — "We played like we know we can," a beaming Ryan Kemp offered as an explanation for Ricks College's dominating 59-26 Real Dairy Bowl football win Friday, Dec. 3.

The game paired No. 5 Ricks and No. 6 Garden City Community College of Kansas in the 13th annual post-season contest. Ricks finished the season with a 10-1 record and climbed a notch to No. 4 in the final national poll of the season.

Kemp, a 5-9, 180-pound freshman running back, who will depart soon to serve in the Portugal Lisbon South Mission, scored Ricks' third touchdown and led the team with 58 yards rushing on six carries.

Playing in his home town, Kemp was no stranger to the artificial turf of Holt Arena on the campus of Idaho State University. "It's great to be back," he said of the 12,000-seat arena where he played all of his home high school football games.

A quintet of returned missionaries powered the high-scoring Ricks offense, led by quarterback Ryan Harris (England Bristol Mission). He completed 29 of 50 passes for 382 yards, throwing touchdown passes to Spencer Nead (Nebraska Omaha), Kyle Harris (New Jersey Cherry Hill), Jared Chappell (California Carlsbad) and Tom Pace (Brazil Brasilia and Brazil Goiania).

Harris, who is an assistant ward clerk in the College 36th Ward, Ricks Fourth Stake, is being heavily recruited by Michigan State, Western Michigan and San Jose State. "I'd love to play in the Big Ten," he said. A native of Franklin, Idaho, he was a National Junior College Athletic Association Pre-Season First Team All-American. Harris set bowl records for most passes completed and most yards passing, and was named the Real Dairy Bowl's Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive year.

Following the victory, the quarterback had high praise for his teammates, including three more returned missionaries — defensive tackle Jerry Togiai (Georgia Macon), linebacker Steve Gifford (Guatemala Guatemala City North), and defensive back Andrew Shirley (Canada Vancouver). Togiai caused a fumble while Gifford and Shirley had interceptions that led to scores.

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