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Class of 2018
1936 State Championship Team
“Not once a foe inside the 10 yard line” Led by Hall of Fame coach Roy Mandery, the 1936 Islander gridders are arguably the most dominant team in Islander, and perhaps state history. The 1936 mythical state champs were never out- downed or out-yarded, and their ten-yard line was never crossed. They outscored their opponents 128-0, out-yarded them 2,313-728, and out-downed them 114-34. The Islanders defeated Superior 12-0, Hastings 6-0, Kearney 20-0, Lexington 18-0, Columbus 20-0, Albion 21-0, Fairbury 13-0, previously unbeaten Lincoln 6-0, and York 12-0 in the season finale for the state title.
Another in a long line of great Islander offensive linemen, Dennis Baker earned All State honors for Coach Ken Fischer’s Islanders in 1973. Highly sought after by the University of Nebraska, Dennis instead accepted a scholarship to the University of Wyoming and went on to become one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the Western Athletic Conference. One of the finest linemen ever to play at Wyoming, Baker anchored the offensive line for the Cowboys from 1975-1977. He earned Associated Press (AP) All America honors in 1977. He was only the third Wyoming Cowboy ever to be chosen to the AP All American Team. A three-time all-Western Athletic Conference selection, Baker excelled in both run-blocking and pass-blocking. In Baker’s junior season of 1976, the Cowboys went 8-4 and played in the Fiesta Bowl.
Unquestionably one of the greatest all-around athletes in Grand Island Sr. High history, Sam Foltz earned All State honors in both his junior (2010) and senior (2011) seasons. Sam was one of the most prolific safeties, wide receivers, and punters in the state of Nebraska and helped lead his Islander teams to the state playoffs in ‘09,‘10, and ‘11. Sam was also a stellar track athlete and basketball player. Sam’s time of 48.54 in the 400 meters is an Islander school record. Sam chose to walk on at the University of Nebraska over several scholarship offers and later was awarded a full scholarship. Sam was Nebraska’s starting punter for 3 seasons and one of the premier punters in all of college football. Sam’s accomplishments as a Husker included: the 2016 Cletus Fischer Native Son Award, the Ray Guy Award watch list in 2016, First-Team All Big 10 in 2015, Eddelman-Fields Big Ten Punter of the Year 2015, Honorable-Mention All Big Ten in 2014, and the Big Ten All Freshman Team in 2013. Foltz was also a standout in the classroom and in the community. He was a five-time member of the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll and earned a spot on both the Brook Berringer and Tom Osborne Citizenship teams in 2016. Foltz also was awarded a Nebraska Student-Athlete HERO Leadership Award in 2016, which recognizes exceptional leadership, consistent and dedicated community service, and positive influence on the team.
One of the most decorated quarterbacks in Islander history, Craig Geren was outstanding on both sides of the football earning All Conference honors as a defensive back in 1986. Craig shined as a senior quarterback earning All State honors in 1987. Craig was honored as the Nebraska offensive player of the year and All State Honorary Captain in 1987. As a member of the North squad, in the Nebraska Shrine Bowl, Craig was named the Offensive MVP in the 1988 game. Geren also earned Baily’s Honorable Mention All American honors in addition to being named The Touchdown Club of Atlanta’s “Nebraska Back of the Year”, following his senior campaign. Craig helped lead the Islanders to a state runner-up finish in 1987. An outstanding all around athlete, Craig is also among the greatest long jumpers in school history with a personal best of 22’7”. Geren went on to an outstanding career at North Dakota State University. A three year starter during his Bison career (‘90-’92), Craig left his mark as one of the most productive receivers and kick returners in Bison history. Craig caught 59 passes for 1,081 (16th in school history) and averaged 18.32 yards per catch (13th in school history). Craig also averaged over 24 yards per kick return during his outstanding NDSU career. Geren led the 1990 Bison squad in receiving and the 1991 team in all purpose yards. Craig was also a part of several championship teams during his career at NDSU including North Central Conference Championship teams in ‘88, ‘90, ‘91 and ‘92 as well the Bison National Championship Teams of 1988 and 1990.
Lester “Les” McDonald was an Islander standout receiver and defensive lineman in the early 1930’s. Les helped lead Coach Roy Mandery’s 1932 squad to a 6-2 record. Les went on to an outstanding career as an end at Nebraska where he lettered in 1934, 1935, and 1936. Les was an All Big 6 Conference receiver for Coach Dana X. Bible’s 1936 squad and helped lead the Huskers to the 1935 and 1936 Big 6 titles. The Chicago Bears made McDonald the eighth overall pick in the 1937 NFL Draft. Les spent three seasons with the Bears before splitting the 1940 season with the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles. As a rookie he caught 11 passes for 179 yards for Chicago and recorded a career-high 16 receptions for 261 yards in 1939. He finished his NFL career with 51 catches for 924 yards with eight touchdowns. McDonald, also a skilled amateur boxer, was inducted into the Nebraska football Hall of Fame in 1991.
A true Islander gamebreaker, Dusty Stamer ran roughshod over opposing defenses in the late 90’s, rushing for an impressive 1,284 yards during the 1999 season. Stamer earned All State honors in 1999 and was selected to play in the Nebraska Shrine Bowl. Dusty was named the Offensive MVP of the 2000 Shrine Bowl after rushing for a Shrine Bowl Record 185 yards and 3 touchdowns. Also an all time Islander great on the track, Dusty was a 4 time gold medalist during his Islander track career and is the current 100 meter school record holder at 10.6. Following a stellar career at Grand Island Senior High, Stamer went on rush for over 1,000 yards and 7 touchdowns as a freshman at the University of South Dakota. After transfering to the University of Nebraska following his freshman year at USD, Stamer went on to a stellar track career at Nebraska as a sprinter. Dusty earned All Big 12 and All America honors as a member of the Nebraska’s 400 x 100 meter relay. Dusty’s 10.24 personal best in the 100 meters is one of the top times in Nebraska track history.
Another in a long line of stellar Islander linebackers, Clark Toner is one of the finest football players in Grand Island Football history. Toner was a standout for Coach Ken Fischer’s 1978 State Championship Team and went on to earn All State honors in both 1978 and 1979. After being selected to play in the 1980 Shrine Bowl, Clark went on to an outstanding career at the University of Nebraska Omaha. During his career at UNO, Clark was named the Maverick “Rookie of the Year” in 1980 and went on to become a two year starter at linebacker for the Mavericks. An outstanding student-athlete and leader, Clark was elected Team Co-Captain for the Mavericks in 1983 and was named a CoSida Academic All American in 1983 as well. Clark also earned an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship in 1984.
Coach Greg Uhrmacher joined the Islander Football coaching staff in 1976 as the Defensive Coordinator for Head Coach Ken Fischer. Coach Uhrmacher helped coach 20 state playoff teams between 1976 and 2013, including the 1978 State Championship team and the State Runner Up teams of 1987 and 1990. Coach Uhrmacher’s defenses were legendary. From the span of 1987 through 1991, Islander opponents averaged only 7 points per game. In addition, the Islanders posted 20 shutouts during that span. Twice Coach Uhrmacher’s Islander defense received national recognition. Greg was the Nebraska Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year in 1989-1990 and served as a Nebraska Shrine Bowl Assistant Coach in 1999. Greg began his long coaching career at 19 as the the coach of Fairbury’s Legion Baseball team. In 1971 Coach Uhrmacher began his high school coaching career in Superior. Greg coached 4 sports in Superior, including two sports simultaneously (golf and baseball). Greg moved to Anselmo-Merna as Head Football Coach, Head Track Coach, and athletic director in 1973. Greg served as a graduate assistant coach for Claire Boroff at UNK (then Kearney State College) in 1975 before beginning his illustrious career on the Islander Football staff. Greg finished his athletic career as the GISH Assistant Activities Director from 2000-2011. Coach Uhrmacher’s absolute belief that excellent coaching is simply excellent teaching has guided him throughout his career. Coach Uhrmacher was always ready to do “Whatever it Takes!”
Dr. John Cannella
One of the truly great Islander contributors, Dr. John Cannella, was instrumental, along with many other Grand Island physicians, in organizing and volunteering to provide Islander athletes with free sports physicals over the last several decades. Dr. Cannella was also a fixture in the press box at Islander football games as a spotter and then an announcer for many years. Dr. Cannella also announced basketball games as well as regular season and state tournament volleyball games, and he also served as referee/official at the boys’ and girls’ state golf tournaments. Dr. Cannella’s dedication to Islander Football and the Senior High Athletic Department has been remarkable.