CORVALLIS, Ore.– A taste of what’s to come is what Tanner Sorensen described the week leading up to and playing in the Les Schwab Bowl this past weekend.
For the recent Sprague-grad, current Withnell Dodger First-baseman and future Linfield College Student-athlete, the opportunity to pad up and represent the Olympians one last time in the football game up in Hillsboro.
Two-a-day’s and the experience bonding Sorensen and those around him as if they were getting ready for a nine-game football season.
“It was an awesome experience,” starts Sorensen. “The whole week leading up to it, it was a blast, I bonded with my teammates super-fast so the whole week it was messing around, what felt like a long time with friends,”
“The game was a taste of the next level-type of football so it was a lot of fun.”
The six-foot-one-inch, 230-pounder was a first-team Offensive guard and a second-team defensive linemen for Sprague this last season and though he saw a ton of time as an offensive guard and center primarily in the Bowl Game, he’ll be playing defensive tackle for Joseph Smith and the Wildcats of Linfield this upcoming Fall.
“It kind of gives me a taste for what it’s going to be like, it makes me even more excited than I already was to move on so it was a good little teaser for next year and it makes me more excited,” said Sorensen.
And to be a part of that winning tradition on the football field that Linfield has built over the past several decades, the opportunity to be a part of that is going to be something special to him over the next few years.
“The feel, it just clicked, it felt like home immediately,” said Sorensen of the McMinnville-based school. “It has that big college-feel with small-college numbers so, to go into a college like that where it’s kind of its own thing…it has its own central campus and the determination of winning, the whole motivation is just to keep the tradition alive.
“62-consecutive winning seasons. So just being able to go there and join something like that is fun and exciting.”
Linfield finished 9-2 in 2016, losing twice to eventual NCAA Division-III Champions Mary Hardin-Baylor in Week 2 (66-27) and in the second-round of the playoffs (27-10).
Now, back-tracking back to the Les Schawb Bowl for a moment; fellow Sprague teammate and 2017 Graduate in Dane McKinney joined Sorensen on the South team as the two used their Olys-connection to help get comfortable with their surroundings.
“It’s always fun to have a familiar face to get comfortable,” said Sorensen. “Dane McKinney, he’s a good ball-player…he’s a funny kid, a good-player; it was just good to have him on the team for one last game.”
McKinney had two tackles, a solo and an assisted tackle, to go with a pass-break-up in the game on June 24.
And McKinney and Sorensen weren’t the only Greater Valley Conference guys on the roster for the All-Star event as Tyler Coates (South Salem), Keonte McMurrin (West Salem), Cedric Agcaoili-Ostrom (McMinnville), Wyatt Smith (McMinnville), Cole Rumrill (West Salem) and Alex Lynch (West Albany) with Smith winning MVP of the game.
For Sorensen, seeing all of the GVC-guys putting in the work and succeeding like they did in the 10-7 win, shows that the league that consist primarily of Salem schools can compete with the Portland schools.
“There was a lot of guys from the league, it was awesome to see,” smiled Sorensen. “A lot of people don’t think our conference super tough so having a guy winning the MVP kind of shows that we got some guys in the conference that are going to make us compete and those Portland leagues aren’t everything, they don’t have everybody and we still got some guys.
“So, it kind of gave us a confidence boost for the league.”
As Sorensen walked off the diamond at Corvallis High School Thursday evening, the Friendly Giant will certainly make some noise not this summer with the bat for the Dodgers, but too make some noise with the pads the next few years in McMinnville.