The ending to Monday night’s Class 4A substate semifinal against visiting Dubuque Senior was a tough one to accept for the Bettendorf boys soccer team.
Leading by two goals at halftime, the Bulldogs could not hold off the Rams in a 3-2 overtime loss. Senior (12-4) advanced to play in Wednesday’s substate final at Iowa City West with the win.
Alex Cullum and Xavier Potts struck first for the Bulldogs (12-4) as they played a sharp first half and controlled the ball throughout the first 40 minutes. However, Potts, was sidelined late in the first half with an apparent lower leg injury and would not return.
Senior keeper Jimmy Berna drilled a long free kick goal longer than midfield to get the Rams on the board in the 48th minute and they would continue to keep the pressure on after falling behind early.
Bettendorf survived a number of close calls and near misses to retain a lead all the way until the final minute of regulation.
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Then, a Nyle Jenkins header with 10 seconds left equalized the game and the Rams seemed to have all of the momentum.
The Bettendorf sideline was calling for an illegal throw in that led to the goal after the score was official.
Another foul call led to the game winner three minutes into overtime as senior captain Owen Hull quickly set up his free kick and drilled it as the Bulldogs were getting into position.
The Rams rushed the field and the Bulldogs dropped to the ground in disbelief after a stunning last few minutes to a competitive game.
“We really played great, we were up two nothing and their set pieces worked. They killed us,” Bettendorf coach Ben Pennington said. “We enjoyed every practice. We had zero problems and you can tell this is hurting all of us. It won’t go away for a while.”
Pennington said the team let Senior hang around and they did not quit.
Losing Potts for all of the second half and overtime was also a tough break.
“He’s one of our best players,” Pennington said, “and he’s been one of my best players in all my years I’ve been here.”
Pennington said the senior class had good attitudes and leadership throughout the season. One tough loss will not change that.
“Didn’t get that third goal to put it away and that’s just sports,” he said. “It will be very tough saying goodbye to these seniors.”