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Eric Peterson, Published September 05 2013

"Mount Wychor" back in the trenches for the Cobbers

Moorhead - The pain was so intense it caused Mark Wychor – who is nicknamed Mount Wychor – to scream in Concordia’s final football game last season.

The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Wychor crumbled to the ground after he was struck in the lower leg by another player while trying to make a tackle.

“I snapped my fibula in two spots,” said Wychor, a senior nose guard for the Cobbers. “It was just a bone floating.”

Mount Wychor is back on solid footing the fall. The Cobbers open their season at 1 p.m. Saturday. They play host to the University of Jamestown at Jake Christiansen Stadium.

“He’s so big, and he moves so well,” Cobbers senior defensive back Kenyon O’Brien said of Wychor. “He’s just better than every other big guy it seems like.”

Wychor injured his left ankle last November in Concordia’s 29-10 victory at Gustavus. That capped an 8-2 season. Soon after, Wychor had surgery.

Wychor said a six-inch plate and wire was used to help repair the broken bone. He was on crutches until January and in a walking boot until March.

That was a frustrating time for Wychor, who was itching to get ready for his senior season.

“I couldn’t run. I couldn’t jog. If I went to the weight room, I could just basically do curls and triceps,” said Wychor, a former three-sport athlete for Moorhead High School. “It was very boring.”

Wychor said he was able to start jogging in April and started to sprint again in May. Cobbers head coach Terry Horan was impressed with the work Wychor put in to get back to full health.

“His work ethic to get back on the field was great,” said Horan, who is entering his 13th season as head coach.

“He’s trained extremely hard all offseason.”

Wychor said he’s back to 100 percent heading into Saturday’s opener against the Jimmies, who have already played two games this season.

Wychor is expected to be a key cog in a 3-4 defense that returns five starters. He is one of two starters back in the front seven.

“He’s the anchor,” Horan said. “Mark is just so big. It’s tough for a lot of people to game man-on-man with him.”

The Cobbers allowed 19.3 points per game last fall and limited opponents to less than 100 rushing yards per game. Wychor thinks this defense can play to that level again this fall, despite having to replace six starters.

“Last year, all those seniors definitely were great, and they just taught us how to be confident and how to win and how to be a great defense,” Wychor said.

While mild mannered off the field, Wychor has an intense drive on it. As an illustration, Horan pointed to a poster in his office that has an image of Wychor letting out a loud yell after making a big play.

“It’s kind of two different guys,” said O’Brien, who is from Lake Park, Minn. “On the field he is emotional and wants to be the best player. Off the field, he is the nicest guy I know.”

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

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