Trucker Alumni Game raises funds for memorial
By Scott Bellile
Before the Clintonville football team kicked off a new season Friday, Aug. 19, Truckers athletes of years’ past returned to the field to fulfill the dream of a late friend.
The Trucker Alumni Football Game, held at the Clintonville High School soccer field, helped raise money for the Jordan Sorenson Memorial Scholarship through raffles, baskets, a 50/50 drawing and concessions.
Sorenson, a 2009 Clintonville High School grad and three-year lineman, was one to jest. As a quick example, his senior quote in the CHS yearbook was, “I don’t know if you know: I’m kinda a big deal around here.” Above that? His name and a grey oval that read “No photo available.”
The lack of a yearbook photo may not have shown it, but according to Sorenson’s mother Katie Schroeder, “He was always smiling and happy.”
Last summer Sorenson and his ex-teammates from the 2007 Truckers football team remained proud, eight years after the fact, that in their heyday they made it to the final round of playoffs. That season they went 10-1 before New London shut them out 28-0 to qualify for state.
Because the Truckers haven’t enjoyed that same level of success since then, Sorenson in his typical humorous manner bragged he and his-20-something-year-old friends could crush today’s high school team, despite being older and probably out of shape.
They got to talking about this fictitious faceoff between the current high school roster and the alumni. One day Sorenson and his friend Jake Stilen competed in a foot race down a road in Bear Creek to see who’d win a coveted position on the mythical team.
“Jordan didn’t even make it halfway before he was out of breath and quit,” Sorenson’s close friend Laura Stueck recalled.
On Sept. 18, 2015, the day after his 25th birthday, Sorenson suddenly died from an undiagnosed heart arrhythmia while out to dinner with friends.
“He was a perfectly healthy normal 25-year-old with his whole life ahead of him and all of a sudden, boom,” Schroeder said. “So we really want to promote heart awareness.”
To do that, his family started the scholarship that will be funded in part by a heart-healthy game of alumni flag football each summer. The plan is to award the $750 scholarship every May to a college-bound CHS senior who will either attend Sorenson’s alma mater of UW Oshkosh or will study in his field of urban planning.
The alumni and students don’t get to rough each other up like Sorenson boasted about because the students have their own games to play. But about two dozen alumni signed up to play each other. Sorenson’s cousins and younger brother Kaden will be water boys, and his older brothers Seth and Zach will be team captains.
Jake Ross played football with Sorenson in middle school and high school and lived with him for more than two years in college. Ross said he looked forward to having fun with friends while remembering Sorenson.
“I definitely think about him a lot, and a lot of things remind me of him going through everyday life,” Ross said. He added the game will “keep his memory alive and start a tradition that we can [use to] remember him for a long time.”
Stueck said Sorenson would enjoy knowing the alumni game not only happened but also carried his name.
“He may have lost that race and didn’t get his position,” Stueck said, “but now his name is on the whole thing. That would be hilarious to him … He would say something about it, too. He would totally be the guy to say, ‘Yeah, well, my name’s on it now.’”
So one night a year at the CHS sports complex from here on out, it’s true: Sorenson is “kinda a big deal around here.”
The Truckers Alumni Football Game pitted Zach’s Team against Seth’s Team.
Members Zach’s Team, which won the game 54-42, included: Zach Schroeder, Shawn Fielding, Steven Hidde, Jason Moder, Aaron Raschke, Lucas Raschke, Mitchell Roberts, Casey Stueck, Charlie Stueck, Max Westphal, Jeremy Wojnowiak and Paul Flanagan.
Members of Seth’s Team included: Seth Sorenson, Lucas Carrigg, Rob Flanagan, Mike Fischer, Bill Goldschmidt, Jay Malliet, Ryan Malliet, Ty Plumb, Curt Prellwitz, Brandon Roberts, Jake Ross, Justin Thebo and Cody Zuehll.