Alumni football game Friday, 7 p.m.

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Kickoff for Clayton Ridge's first annual alumni football game will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 24. A tailgate begins at 5 p.m. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

The Friday night lights will shine once again on Clayton Ridge and Guttenberg Pirate football alumni during a full-contact game versus Central Elkader alumni at the Stephen D. Shannon Athletic Complex this weekend. On Friday, June 24, the community is invited to enjoy Clayton Ridge’s first alumni game in support of the athletic department.

“It started with youth football,” said Clayton Ridge 2007 graduate Noah Sadewasser. Sadewasser coaches football for CR youth and high school, and a parent of one of his youth team members suggested the entertaining new fund-raiser for the football program. Kyle Millard, father of Kylar, has played in a similar game at his alma mater in Starmont. 

Millard and his brother, Jordan, live in Guttenberg and will also join in the game this Friday. “Starmont and Ed-Co have played the last two or three years, and some of our alumni have been in contact with that game and its participants,” said head high school football coach Chad Harbaugh. “The rules allow participants who live or work in the school district as well as those who are actually alumni to play.”

  Players of all ages, from 19-67, will join in the game. An astounding 35 athletes signed up to play for Clayton Ridge, including Dustin White, Austin Winch, Corey Godden, Pat Bauer, Justin Parker, Mitchel Glawe, Noah Sadewasser, Jeremy Greve, Matt Heath, Shane Wahls, Derek Christoffer, Trevor Kelly, Johnny Greve, Clinton Dullin, T.J. Pierce, Troy Roberts, Travis Geuder, Russ Boyce, Wes Baier, Jason Hefel, Josh Swope, Ethan Rutledge, Tyler Randall, Zach Lacey, Antonio Armstrong, Ben Patzner, KeAndre Armstrong, Ryan Moser, Jared Esmann, Tim White, Kyle Millard, Brandon Adams, Jordan Millard, Jeff Walters, Steve Staebler, Ron Bailey, Robert Heath, Nathan Mitchell, and Austin Mitchell. 

“It is a full contact football game and should be very competitive. Most everyone will know someone playing,” said Harbaugh.

“Players come from all walks of life with families, jobs, other responsibilities and a desire to play,” said booster club president Steve Staebler. “Some players have attended many practices and others minimally, but still intend to play. Some players do not reside locally. Practice is normally two hours per night plus travel to and from practice – time consuming but for a good cause, and physically demanding for those who have not played football for several years.” New players are still welcome at the time of the game, and can play as much as they are comfortable. There is one remaining practice on Thursday, June 23.

The football game will be hosted by the Clayton Ridge Athletic Boosters and is held in partnership with Central of Elkader and Alumni Football USA, an organization that takes care of officials, insurance, equipment, tickets, and other administrative costs. “All family members, friends and anyone who enjoys football should attend for entertainment and for supporting the athletic department,” said Staebler. 

  The ten dollar tickets to the event are on sale now, and all tickets sold before Thursday, June 23, will be split 50/50 between the two schools and Alumni Football USA. Tickets sold at the gate will not benefit either school, so it is important to purchase tickets by this Thursday. Tickets are available by contacting coaches Harbaugh (563-880-8987) and Sadewasser (563-880-8980), many of the other alumni, or at People's State Bank, Fidelity Bank, Meuser Lumber, The Dam Bar, and in the Elkader area.

Football fans are invited to attend a tailgate party beginning at 5 p.m. at the concession stand. The athletic booster club will offer meal deals including sandwich, chips, and a drink, as well as ice cream and other typical concession items. “Come early for the tailgater and team warm-ups,” Staebler invites. 

All concessions and other fundraisers done the night of the game will be split 50/50 with Central Elkader. Normally, the game would be played two years with one game being home and one away for each school, but it was agreed to play two games at Clayton Ridge and split the proceeds each year.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Alumni cheerleaders and band members may also participate in the festivities. "This is a great fundraiser for the schools and it shows kids why sports are important - a simple game can bring two communities together to raise money for a good cause," Sadewasser told The Press. "Even though some of the guys are older, they still have wheels. We can run, we can hit. It's just going to be a fun night!" 

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