Von Pinnon: Dragons-Cobbers football rivalry should be renewed

One long-held area college football rivalry is rekindled. Another rivalry game across the Red River should be, too.

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Matthew Von Pinnon

One long-held area college football rivalry is rekindled. Another rivalry game across the Red River should be, too.

With all the excitement last week surrounding the NDSU-UND gridiron clash, it made me long for the days when Concordia College and Moorhead State (yes, that's its name to me) played each other annually going back to 1916.

The series, known over the years as the Crystal Bowl (thanks to longtime sponsor and Moorhead-based American Crystal Sugar Co.) or Power Bowl (thanks to nine-time sponsor Moorhead Public Service) was last played in 2007.

The annual game was halted after that year because of scheduling conflicts brought on by an expanding Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, of which Minnesota State University Moorhead belongs.

Officials from the two Moorhead colleges continued to say they were keenly interested in restarting the rivalry game, going so far as to leaving a date open for it in their 2012 schedules.


But in 2011, the NSIC announced its football teams would only play conference games through 2019. Presumably, sometime before that, the conference would determine whether to again leave an open date on their schedules for a non-conference game, which some schools have requested.

Let's hope that happens.

The Moorhead matchup was unique because the campuses are only a few blocks apart. Student fans and even players were known to walk from their home campus to the rival campus on those game days, usually the first game each fall for both teams.

The Dragons and Cobbers rotated home sites each year and the game drew more than 5,000 fans many years, the biggest crowds both teams saw most years. In later years, the game was televised, pulling in casual observers and building public interest for both colleges and for the city.

Bottom line is that the game was good for Moorhead, the schools that call it home and for the student-athletes who fondly recall the annual matchup as memorable moments of their college experience.

Asked last week whether there's hope of rekindling the annual Cobbers-Dragons game, Concordia Athletic Director Rich Glas told me he and MSUM Athletic Director Doug Peters continue to discuss the possibilities.

"If there is a change in NSIC scheduling and we could play again, we both are very interested in playing that game," Glas said.

The streak is alive


Yesterday, retired Forum Photo Editor Colburn Hvidston III captured photos from his 46th consecutive NDSU-UND football matchup.

Hvidston started capturing the rivalry in 1958, first as a photographer for UND's Dakota Student newspaper, then shooting it for various media publications, including the Dakota Annual, the UND News Bureau, the UND Sports Information Office, The Grand Forks Herald, The Forum and the Associated Press.

His streak was put on hold after 2003, the last time the game was played, until it resumed Saturday.

We brought him out of retirement to shoot Saturday's game. It was a win-win for both of us.

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