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VINTON -- This past Friday afternoon I had the oppourtunity to talk to seven members of Vinton-Shellsburg's amazing 2nd-ranked boys' soccer team. Of the seven you'll see on the accompaning video, six have been playing together since the age of six and two of those have played together since the age of five. As the players will point out, that fact greatly illustrates the way the team has goes a long way the season has gone.

By the way, since we had to do a second take, the actual introductions didn't make it on to the recording, so as you watch the video, the athletes are seniors (front row, left to right) Ethan Rollinger, Damon Swenson, CJ Rickels, David Lapan-Islas, (back row) JJ Sloop, and Jesse Pladsen, along with junior Kale Schulte.

We talked about the Vikings astonishing start to the season -- now 12-0, outscoring opponents 84-6, and a bunch of other amazing stats that on tape only go through Thursday's game -- and how they have managed to have stay focused on this amazing run.

And along the way we learn what it's like for JJ back in the goal sometimes, who talks the most on the field, and that Kaden Kingsbury has a special role for the Vikings.

But a large part of the story was about the team's spirit, the team's inspiration, and the team's "Big Brother", Mike Betterton. Mikey would have been part of the team's senior group, and while his death on October 4, 2019 staggered these young men, it always has driven them and filled them with a resolve. Mike would have turned 19 on May 8.

And, if the interview cut off rather suddenly...well, it was kind of dusty or something in the library I guess...

Thanks guys; it was a honor.

To see Friday's video visit the Vinton Today Facebook page!


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