When I was first learning how to become a professional reporter, people warned me never to get too emotionally attached to my sources. The human being in me makes it impossible not to build an affinity for the high school kids I’ve covered over the past dozen years of doing this.
That made this week’s news that Lincoln Powers, who I’d watched shine on the football field and basketball court as a student-athlete at Tooele High, had been involved in a fatal car accident difficult to handle.
Perhaps Tooele boys basketball coach Josh Johnsen put it best earlier this week when he simply said, “there are no words.” The looks on the faces of THS seniors Kyler Hymas, Mitchell Bunn and Dawson Banks as they spoke about their beloved former teammate, who graduated from high school just last spring, said all that needed to be said.
Powers’ athletic exploits have been written about time and time again in this sports section over the past several years. To say that he was something special whenever he carried a football as the Buffaloes’ star running back would be a vast, vast understatement. Even when he suffered an injury that ended his senior season of basketball prematurely, he was a leader and a motivator, faithfully cheering for and encouraging his teammates game after game, even though you knew it was eating him up inside that he couldn’t be out there between those lines.
But there was more to Powers than what he showed as an athlete. By all accounts, the 19-year-old was a great young man to be around. A great friend. An engaging personality with a thousand-watt smile that came easily.
A young man who had a lot to offer this world, and whose life was tragically cut far, far too short.
Yes, when Powers graduated from THS last spring, his absence created a void in the Buffaloes’ athletic program. The Buffs certainly could have used him if he’d had another year of eligibility. However, it wasn’t uncommon to see him on the Tooele sidelines this school year. When senior Jeno Bins suffered a season-ending knee injury during basketball season, who was one of the first people to offer words of encouragement as Bins hobbled to the locker room afterward? Powers. That shows what kind of man he was — always there to lend his support when a friend was in need of it.
And that’s where Powers will be missed most of all.
Thank you, “Linc.”
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. His sincerest condolences go out to Lincoln Powers’ family, friends and all who knew and loved him. Vaughan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.