It would not be a boy’s state soccer tournament if it did not include Bettendorf. The Bulldogs have appeared in every state tournament and take an 18-1 mark into tonight’s opening round matchup against Ankeny.

Long-time coach Ben Pennington says this trip is especially rewarding as they return three starters from last year’s team. He says they have a bunch of new varsity players who have lifted weights and worked on their speed and agility. Pennington says it has been a very relaxed year that’s been fun.

Pennington says the team is not made up of great soccer players but great athletes. He says some of the best athletes don’t specialize and he says that’s why they have a talented soccer team. Pennington says over half of his starters don’t touch a soccer ball until the season starts.

Bettendorf has played in every state tournament. Pennington started coaching in 1982 and he says in his 14th year they started the state tournament and his team has been to all 12. Pennington says they came close to missing a couple of tournaments, but have managed to always make it in.