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The Fourth Quarter: Weber State’s Football Seniors

As Weber State’s football team prepares for their final home game of the season against Idaho State, the team’s 11 seniors also look to this week’s matchup as their final home game of their Weber State careers. This year’s seniors have seen a lot of success over their four years, with head coach Jay Hill saying that this year’s senior class is the winningest in Weber State football history.

Nikki Dorber Idaho vs WSU (20 of 29).jpg
WSU Wildcats Adam Rodriguez and Jonah Williams react to sacing the QB of Idaho. (Nikki Dorber / The Signpost)

“They’re great people, and they’re great football players,” Hill said. “They bust their butt, and they work hard. This program owes this group of seniors a lot because they’ve really changed this program.”

Before their final game in front of a Wildcat home crowd, let’s take a look at each senior’s time at Weber State.

#9 – Adam Rodriguez, DE

Adam Rodriguez (Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics)

Since his debut with the Wildcats in 2016, defensive end Adam Rodriguez has been key in making the Wildcats’ defense one of the most lethal in the country. In his freshman season, Rodriguez played in 11 games, where he totaled 21 tackles, including three for loss, one sack and two kickoff returns. His game grew in his sophomore campaign, finishing second on the team with 58 tackles and 3.5 sacks, with eight tackles and 2.5 sacks coming in the playoffs that year. Rodriguez also had a fumble recovery and two pass breakups in 2017.

As the Wildcats became a bigger force in the Big Sky Conference, Rodriguez became one of their most important players on either side of the ball. In his junior year, Rodriguez exploded, starting all 13 games of the season and finishing with 61 tackles, seven sacks, the third-highest total in the Big Sky Conference, 15 tackles for loss, which ranked fourth in the Big Sky, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Rodriguez received numerous recognitions for his stellar junior season, such as being named to the All-Big Sky First Team and HERO Sports All-America Third Team.

Throughout his senior season, Rodriguez has continued his outstanding play. Before the season, he was named to the Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Team. So far, he has racked up 36 tackles, including six for loss, 4.5 sacks, four pass breakups and one quarterback hit. Rodriguez will major in athletic training as he finishes at Weber State.

#29 – Jacques Carter, CB

Jacques Carter (Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics)

After sitting out the 2018 season, cornerback Jacques Carter played in two games for the Wildcats this year against San Diego State and Northern Iowa. Before transferring to Weber State, Carter spent three seasons playing for the College of Idaho, where he recorded 38 tackles, eight pass breakups and two interceptions. Carter, who hails from Bogalusa, Louisiana, graduated from Clearfield High School in 2014 after two seasons at Layton Christian Academy. He will graduate from Weber State with a Bachelor of Integrated Studies degree.

#41 – Doug Lloyd, P

Doug Lloyd (Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics)

Originally from Mount Gambier, Australia, punter Doug Lloyd has played a key role for the Wildcats’ special teams the past three seasons. His senior season has proven to arguably be his best, with Lloyd averaging over 43 yards per punt, currently ranking him sixth in the Big Sky Conference and eleventh in the nation.

Lloyd was named Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts in the Wildcats’ Sept. 28 game against Northern Iowa. In that game, Lloyd kicked seven punts, including five that landed inside the 20-yard line, three downed at Northern Iowa’s two-yard line and one that went 72 yards, a career-long punt for Lloyd. On the offensive side, Lloyd ran in a fake field goal attempt for a 30-yard touchdown against Idaho in October.

In his junior season, Lloyd earned second-team All-Big Sky honors for helping the Wildcats reach the FCS quarterfinals. Lloyd recorded 80 punts for a total of 3,214 yards throughout the season, finishing ninth in the Big Sky with an average of 40.2 yards per punt. Off the field, he received Big Sky Academic All-Conference honors in Information Systems and Technology, which he plans to major in as he finishes at Weber State.

#51 – Chris Faaumu, OL

Chris Faauma (Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics)

Hailing from Federal Way, Washington, offensive lineman Chris Faaumu looks to close his senior year with the Wildcats on a high note. Faaumu signed with the Wildcats in February 2018 and played in one game in the 2018 season but then suffered a season-ending injury. Before making his way to Ogden, Faaumu played two seasons at Cerritos Community College in Norwalk, California, and achieved First Team All-Conference honors during his senior year at Emerald Ridge High School in Puyallup, Washington. Faaumu is majoring in exercise science at Weber State.

#53 – Auston Tesch, LB

Auston Tesch (Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics)

A local man throughout his career, linebacker Auston Tesch joined the Wildcats in 2014 after playing at Weber High School. After his LDS Church mission to Washington, D.C., Tesch joined the Wildcats’ defense and made an immediate impact, playing in all 12 games his freshman year and totaling 10 tackles and seven kickoff returns for 85 yards. He was also named to the Big Sky Academic All-Conference team in Health Sciences. His game stepped up further in his sophomore season as he recorded 39 tackles, two fumble recoveries, one blocked kick and one forced fumble as he played in every game in 2017.

Tesch continued his dominance on defense in his junior year as he racked up 41 tackles, including five for loss, 1.5 sacks, two pass breakups and nine kickoff returns totaling 144 yards. Tesch was named to the All-Big Sky Third Team for his efforts in 2018. In his senior season, Tesch has continued to produce for the Wildcats’ defense, so far accumulating 42 tackles, six going for loss, three kick returns and one sack. In 2017, he was again named to the Big Sky Academic All-Conference team, this time in business administration, which he plans to major in.

#65 – Gordon Moimoi, OL

Gordon Moimoi (Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics)

Although he hasn’t taken the field for the Wildcats this season, offensive lineman Gordon Moimoi has played a considerable role during his time at Weber State. During his first three seasons with the Wildcats, Moimoi played in 21 games for the Wildcats, totaling three tackles during gameplay. Prior to joining the team, Moimoi redshirted his freshman year after serving an LDS Church mission to Samoa and graduating from Timpview High School in Provo. Moimoi plans to major in social work as he finishes at Weber State.

#73 – Xavier Stilson, OL

Xavier Stilson (Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics)

Having been involved with the Wildcats since he signed in 2012, offensive lineman Xavier Stilson has seen the program grow substantially. After he returned from an LDS Church mission to Brazil, Stilson rejoined the program in 2016, although he didn’t see any playing time his freshman year. He first saw game action in his sophomore season, playing in five games as he helped the Wildcats to multiple honors, including a Big Sky title, a national ranking of fifth place and a school-record 11 wins.

2018 saw Stilson’s impact continue to grow as he became a more prominent force on the Wildcats’ offensive line. He played in nine games, starting in eight of them, and assisted in guiding the Wildcats to consecutive Big Sky titles and a trip to the FCS quarterfinals. In his senior season, Stilson has started every game on the Wildcats’ offensive line, helping the Wildcats reach a number-three national ranking and guiding their offense to many dominant FCS wins. Stilson plans to major in microbiology and also plans to attend medical school after he finishes at Weber State.

As he finishes his time at Weber State, Stilson cites Hill’s goal-oriented approach and his care for his players as something that will stay with him after he leaves.

“Coach Hill takes the time to look at our own goals personally,” Stilson said. “I thought that was really cool. I think that being goal-driven and motivated every day is huge. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned from Coach Hill.

#84 – Martrel Holmes, WR

Martrel Holmes (Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics)

In his four years with Weber State, wide receiver Martrel Holmes has suited up for the Wildcats in six games, including three this season. In February 2015, Holmes signed with the Wildcats from Mission Hills High School in San Marcos, California. While playing for the Grizzlies, Holmes was named the 2014 Offensive Player of the Year and was named to the All-League First Team for his efforts. Holmes plans to graduate with a degree in professional sales from Weber State.

#92 – Kawika Tupuola, DE

Kawika Tupuola (Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics)

As he finishes his time with the Wildcats, defensive end Kawika Tupuola leaves a considerable hole in the defense for next season. Tupuola has played in at least nine games every season that he has played for the Wildcats, playing a part in the Wildcats’ run to the playoffs each year. In his freshman year, he recorded six tackles, including one tackle for loss. His sophomore year brought improvement to his game, playing in every game for the Wildcats and accumulating 19 tackles with one sack. He received Big Sky Academic All-Conference in Health Promotion in 2017.

In his junior year, Tupuola again played in all of Weber State’s games, where he finished third on the team in sacks with four and also had 28 tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss. He made a small impact on special teams as well, returning a kickoff for 24 yards and blocking a kick. This year, in his senior season, he has totaled 17 tackles with 3.5 for loss and half a sack. He will graduate this year with a degree in Exercise and Sport and plans to attend a physician assistant school and eventually pursue a career in pediatrics.

Tupuola said that above all, he will miss playing with his teammates and coaches the most after he finishes his time as a Wildcat.

“I’ve had awesome teammates, awesome brothers that I’ve made for life,” Tupuola said. “That’s something that will go on way past my senior year. More than anything, that’s what I’m most grateful for. When times get hard, that’s what makes it easy to stick around.”

#94 – Jonah Williams, DE

Jonah Williams (Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics)

During his four years as a member of the Wildcats’ defense, defensive end Jonah Williams looks to finish strong after an illustrious career at Weber State. Joining the team after serving an LDS Church in Brazil, Williams made an immediate impact in his freshman year, recording 53 tackles, including four for loss, four sacks and a blocked field goal attempt. Williams was named to the HERO Sports FCS All-Freshman team in 2016, one of five freshmen from the Big Sky Conference to make that list.

Williams continued to improve in his sophomore season, finishing second on the team and 10th in the Big Sky with 5.5 sacks, 37 tackles, six for loss, two blocked kicks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, which earned him second-team All-Big Sky honors in 2017. His junior year continued his run of success, starting all 13 games on the defensive line and totaling 42 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. His play in 2018 earned him a spot on the All-Big Sky First team.

In his senior season, Williams has maintained his level of play throughout the Wildcats’ season, being named to the Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Team and racking up 46 tackles, eight for loss, 6.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. Williams has also been named to the Big Sky Academic All-Conference Team the past two seasons in his major of business administration and finance.

Omar Gutierrez, S

Omar Guitierrez (Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics)

Safety Omar Gutierrez has spent the past four years assisting the Wildcats’ in their defensive efforts. Gutierrez joined the Wildcats after graduating from Hillcrest High School in Midvale after having led the Huskies during his time there.

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