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Eric Peterson, Published September 20 2012

Hvidston is strong, silent leader for Cobbers defense

Moorhead - Peter Hvidston was in the midst of his sophomore football season at Concordia College when he got his chance. The linebacker was put into the Cobbers lineup for the second half of a game.

The video didn’t lie. When Concordia coaches watched the game film, Hvidston was in the picture frame on every play.

“He hasn’t come off the field since,” said defensive coordinator Kyle Bakken.

Now a senior, Hvidston still has a knack for finding the football.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Hvidston leads the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with 33 tackles in three games.

He also leads the MIAC with five quarterback sacks.

“He’s kind of that silent giant if you will,” said Cobbers head coach Terry Horan. “When he makes big plays, he’s going to get excited, but he leads by example, and he does work.”

Hvidston – who led the team in tackles last season – will be leaned on to have another blue-collar effort at 1 p.m. Saturday when Concordia (3-0, 1-0 MIAC) hosts St. John’s at Jake Christiansen Stadium.

The game is the MIAC home opener for Concordia. The Cobbers haven’t defeated the Johnnies at Jake Christiansen Stadium since before Hvidston was born – 1986 to be exact. He and his teammates would like to end that this weekend.

“It would be huge for us, for our confidence,” said Hvidston. “St. John’s is our biggest rival.”

Hvidston and senior Matt Moenkedick are the inside linebackers in the Cobbers’ 3-4 defensive scheme.

The unit is coming off a stellar performance against St. Olaf. Concordia held the Oles to 175 yards during a 28-14 road victory last Saturday. Moenkedick, who is second on the team with 30 tackles, knows he can rely on Hvidston.

“He’s consistent,” said Moenkedick, from Verndale, Minn. “You know he’s going to go out and make tackles and he knows the defense well. He’s competitive. He goes out there and competes.”

Hvidston won a North Dakota Class 2A state football championship during his junior season at Fargo Oak Grove. Bakken was the head coach for the Grovers.

Hvidston was a three-year starter at linebacker for Oak Grove, with Bakken being his head coach for two of those seasons.

“He’s a pure football player,” Bakken said. “He’s not going to ‘wow’ you with 40 times and jumping and all those things. He just finds the ball. He’s either on the pile or he’s made the tackle.”

Hvidston is a business management major who plans to attend law school. While he likes the big hit, he also enjoys the thinking part of defense.

Hvidston said when he watches college football games on television, he finds himself watching the offensive linemen to see how the linebackers are reading their movements.

“I’m definitely more of the thinker,” Hvidston said. “I’m not the bruising, physical linebacker. I get the reads and I get there. I love it when I can beat a pulling (lineman) to the play.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com