One game into Dawson Pedersen’s senior year at Breckenridge, the star Cowboy linebacker suffered a shoulder injury that ended his season. Pedersen was in his third year starting on the defensive side of the ball for Breck and he didn’t want his final football memory to be a season-ending injury.
Pedersen got a second chance at North Dakota State College of Science. After two years playing for the Wildcats, Pedersen will be moving on to Upper Iowa. The Division II school is part of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and is located in Fayette, Iowa.
“It meant everything (to get back on the field). It really took a toll on me when I couldn’t play my senior year,” Pedersen said. “It meant a lot because after being told I probably should shy away from football, because of the injury, all the coaches that were recruiting me stopped. For Coach Izzy (Eric Issendorf) to give me a shot to continue playing, it really sparked a fire in me.”
Injuries continued to plague Pedersen throughout his freshman year of college, but he stayed the course and played through his entire sophomore season. He contributed to one of the best defenses in the conference this season and in his two years helped NDSCS to a record of 17-4.
“Going to Science, I ended up getting hurt the fourth game in my freshman year and it was really determining if I was going to keep playing or not and I definitely wanted to keep playing. I wanted to keep doing what I was able to do,” Pedersen said.
Pedersen was a linebacker throughout his time spent with the Cowboys. He didn’t have the size to continue playing up in the box, so he moved to the secondary when he got to college. His physicality made him a perfect fit for what Issendorf wants out of his safeties.
“It was definitely hard (switching positions), but the coaches there help you a lot,” Pedersen said. “It was definitely difficult at times learning the new position, but after the coaches helped it was pretty smooth.”
Throughout high school, Pedersen was also a standout in basketball and baseball. It was surprisingly his spring sport that helped him transition to his new position at NDSCS.
“It was pretty smooth. I played center field in baseball in high school, so safety’s kind of like playing center field of the defense,” Pedersen said.
Pedersen doesn’t have any regrets when it comes to his college decision out of high school. He got to continue the sport he loved and that paved his way to another two years on the gridiron. Staying in town was also a plus.
“Playing at NDSCS gives you a good experience and lets you know what’s really out there. It’s good for exposure and to know if you really want to play the game or not,” Pedersen said. “I’m thankful to be part of a community like this. It was great being part of Breckenridge and NDSCS football for sure.”
Pedersen will suit up right away at Upper Iowa and won’t be sitting out as a redshirt. He’s chomping at the bit to get back on the field and is confident this will be another good fit, just like the last school he chose.
“They just kind of made it feel like home when I went there and visited,” Pedersen said. “The coaches were all in good contact with me throughout the whole process and they just made it feel like I was wanted there.”