OGDEN — Auston Tesch already completed one mission in Virginia. Now the team captain is on a quest to complete another mission: help guide his team to the Wildcats' first-ever FCS Championship with a win over James Madison University on Saturday in Virginia.
A native of Eden, in Weber County, Tesch served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Virginia from 2014-2016. He knows the area well, and the opportunity to get back to a place and people he loves is something he’s looking forward to.
For Tesch, serving a mission and his playing career have had a lot of correlation with each other. The lessons he learned both while serving a mission and playing football at Weber State are similar.
“There’s certain things you can only learn from going through a hard time or a certain situation,” the senior linebacker said. “I’ve seen a lot of similarities like lessons on hard work, diligence, being obedient, and following rules. You’re really blessed both on and off the field for doing those things, and in the mission field as well.”
At one point in his life, Tesch was OK with the idea of playing football and not serving a church mission. For him, football was his life and what he enjoyed doing. It was his childhood dream to play football at the collegiate level. But it wasn’t until after he decided to serve a church mission that he was given the opportunity to continue playing football after high school.
From an athletic standpoint, there is nothing beneficial about serving a church mission, according to WSU linebackers coach Grant Duff. However, for some young athletes, what they gain in maturity easily can make up those two years spent away from athletics.
“In his case, I do believe it helped him,” said Duff. “He came in with just an understanding from the get-go that he had a responsibility and he needed to carry the weight of that load, and has never once shirked away from that; he’s embraced it.”
I’ve seen a lot of similarities like lessons on hard work, diligence, being obedient, and following rules. You’re really blessed both on and off the field for doing those things and in the mission field as well.
Not only has Tesch embraced his position with the Wildcats, there is a reason why Tesch is so well-liked by not only his coaches, but his teammates as well.
“He’s kind of like Captain America,” said Duff. “Not only does he look the part, but he’s good at everything he does. He’s the type of guy you wish your daughter would bring home to marry. He’s one of the smartest guys on the team. He’s one of the most well-liked, most well-respected. He doesn’t have a weakness, and sometimes it frustrates the heck out of you because you wish you could be like that. He’s an all-American awesome guy and I love everything about him.”
The senior provides leadership and guidance to his teammates, but it doesn’t stop there. He’s also part of the best senior class to come through the Weber State program. Tesch has been a part of three Big Sky Championships, and he’s helped the Wildcats win 39 games thus far in his storied career. Those 39 wins (and counting) have helped this senior class to become the winningest in school history.
The senior who is described as consistent, caring, quirky and someone with a big goofy smile has some advice for the young athlete deciding between college athletics and a mission. “It’s really between you and God,” Tesch said. “Make sure you’re putting him first, and he’ll provide a way for you to do whatever it is that you want to do.”