While Grantsville senior Brady Arbon came away with the Transcript Bulletin’s Male Athlete of the Year award for the 2017-18 school year, it goes without saying that there were a number of standout athletes throughout Tooele County that stood out.
Tooele senior Jeno Bins took the Buffaloes on his back during the 2017 football season. He led Tooele with 1,228 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns and averaged 118.5 yards of total offense per game. He was also a force on defense, leading the Buffs with 56 total tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss, and he tied for the team lead with three forced fumbles.
Unfortunately for Bins, he suffered a season-ending knee injury during Tooele’s home basketball game against Park City. His leadership was sorely missed on the court despite the Buffs’ second-place finish in Region 11.
Stansbury senior Tavita Gagnier starred for the Stallions in three sports: football, basketball and track. During the football season, he helped lead Stansbury to the Region 11 championship and a second consecutive state semifinal berth with 284 rushing yards, 347 receiving yards and 275 combined kickoff and punt return yards (including a 97-yard kickoff return against Taylorsville) with seven total touchdowns. He had a team-high four interceptions as well, thanks to his athleticism.
He carried that over to the basketball court, helping Stansbury reach the postseason for the third consecutive year. While his statistics weren’t flashy — 6.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1 steal per game — his play often was, as he soared over his opponents for rebounds. He also provided steady leadership when the Stallions stumbled against a tough preseason schedule, helping them bounce back with a 9-3 effort in region play.
Gagnier wrapped up his senior year as a member of the Stallions’ track and field team, taking his leaping ability to the long jump pit.
Grantsville’s Coy Johnson was another three-sport star, suiting up for the Cowboys in football, basketball and baseball. Johnson was Grantsville’s starting quarterback, and his three years of experience under center at the varsity level were crucial to the Cowboys’ success. He never seemed to let struggles — his own or the team’s — get him down, as he helped lead Grantsville to a strong season and a state quarterfinal berth.
Johnson’s basketball season was a bit rocky, as an injury left him on the bench for much of the early part of the year. His leadership and calm demeanor proved invaluable for the Cowboys both on and off the court, and it was a key part of the reason Grantsville went from a fourth-place finish in Region 13 to a third-place finish in the Class 3A state tournament.
His crowning achievement came on the baseball field. Cowboys coach Aaron Perkins remarked that Johnson would likely have been a starting pitcher on any other team in the state, but he flourished in a relief role, including closing out Grantsville’s state championship-clinching victory over Carbon. He filled the role of leadoff hitter admirably, and was a mainstay in the middle infield.