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Armstrong Stadium 1953-1979

Although Bettendorf’s football program began in 1951, it wasn’t until 1953 that the Bulldog’s played their first home game at the then-new Armstrong Stadium located on 23rd Street where the High School also was positioned.  Prior to the existence of Armstrong Stadium—also known as the “23rd Street Stadium”—all “home” football games were played at Brady Stadium in Davenport.

The 23rd Street Stadium has a rich history of winning and in its initial season, the Bulldogs went 4-4-1 and placed 3rd in the Illowa Conference.  Two years later in 1955, Armstrong Stadium witnessed Bettendorf go 6-2 while being the Illowa Runner-up and a mere five years after the first game was ever played in the new facility, the 1957 Bulldogs went 7-2 and won their first conference championship.

The 1957 marked the beginning of a remarkable run in which Bettendorf not only won four-straight conference titles, but also 25-straight games from 1958-60.  As well, the 1960 team was named by the United Press International as the "Mythical State Champions” of Iowa after a stellar season in which they not only defeated Burlington—the previous defending state champion, 34-18—but also set a new school record for most points scored in nine games (42.3 average) will still stands today.  That season Head Coach Merritt Parsons was also named “Coach of the Year” by the Des Moines Register while offensive tackle Steve Grossman earned “Quad City Lineman of the Year” honors.

Armstrong Stadium was home to the Bulldogs for 27 seasons and in that time span, Bettendorf won eight conference championships in three different conferences:  the Illowa, Little Six, and Mississippi Valley.  The stadium also oversaw four different Bettendorf head coaches in Wayne Grady, Merrit Parsons, Ray Oles, and Merv Habenicht. 

Although a new high school was built at the current 18th Street location in 1973, home football games continued to be played at the 23rd Street Stadium until the 1980 season when TouVelle Stadium opened.

The old high school and former stadium are now utilized by the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency (AEA 9).