Trent Sorey is keeping busy for his senior year.
The Pendleton student is not only in the midst of his debut year as the Bucks’ starting quarterback, but also competed in his first year as a team roper at the Pendleton Round-Up, where he served as the header for his older brother Pake during the Tuesday and Thursday slack events.
And on Friday night, he’ll lead his team back onto the Round-Up Grounds, where they’ll go head-to-head against La Salle Prep, a Portland-area school with a 4-1 season record.
“(La Salle is) a good team,” said Sorey, 18. “We had a good week of practice — we got in what we needed to. We’re ready to go.”
Sorey’s confidence isn’t without reason — his team is 5-0 and ranked No. 3 in the state’s 5A division with three league games remaining.
The quarterback has been honing his skills for years. Sorey started playing football when he was in sixth grade, when he joined Pendleton’s Pee Wee football league. And he’s been a cowboy even longer, winning his first saddle when he was 6 years old.
“I’ve been at the rodeo since I can remember,” he said. “It’s tough to manage both sports, but my brother did it, and I have buddies who do it. For some guys, football comes first, and for others, it’s the rodeo. For me, when it’s football season, I’m all about football; but during the offseason, it’s the rodeo.”
The rodeo runs in Sorey’s family. It all started with his grandfather, Bob Sorey, who roped professionally. His father, Tom, is the 1996 and 1999 steer roping champion at the Round-Up, his sister, Emily, barrel races, and Pake also ties down calves and ropes steers.
“It was pretty awesome to be in the Round-Up arena as a cowboy,” Sorey said. “I’ve been dreaming about it since I was a little kid. It’s unbelievable.”
Sorey says he’ll be finished with football after high school, but hopes to continue his rodeo career into college. He’s looking at Weatherford Community College in Texas and New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, N.M.
Sorey proves himself to be a role model both on and off the field — during the school day, he can be found at Pendleton High School, assisting in the P5 program, a P.E. class for disabled students.
“Just giving those kids the opportunity to play sports — something I love so much — there’s nothing better,” he said.
Erik Davis, his football coach, has seen Sorey grow into a leader early on. He’s been instructing Pendleton’s team for the past seven years, and his son Blake Davis, the Bucks’ wide receiver, has been playing football with Sorey since they were kids.
“To me, Trent’s a mature kid,” said coach Davis. “I’ve told a lot of people this — he’s a ‘yessir’ guy. The leadership oozes from him, and the team is always ready to follow him onto the field.”
“Trent’s been my best friend and quarterback since sixth grade,” said Blake. “We’ve built a bond around football. This is our senior year — we’re going all out.”
That’s not an understatement — the Bucks are coming off a home shutout when they overpowered Milwaukie in a 56-0 victory. They’ve scored 253 points and allowed 53.
La Salle sits just below Pendleton in the Special District 1 standings, and have faced similar opponents this season, but Pendleton is much stronger offensively. Just last week, La Salle upset Hood River Valley 36-16, while Pendleton opened league play defeating the Eagles 46-0. La Salle also faced Putnam and beat them 35-7, but the Bucks crushed them 56-14.
“This season’s been outstanding,” Sorey said. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. We’ve been working on starting out fast. We’re going to come out strong against La Salle. My team just needs to keep doing what they’re doing.”
Annie Fowler contributed to this story.