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Hall of Fame
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Class of 2019
This unbeaten Grand Island High School squad finished 7-0-1 and ranked fourth in the state according to an Associated Press poll. The Islander squad, which gained a part of the East Big Ten Conference title for the 10th time in 14 years, was Coach Jerry Lee's fourth unbeaten squad.
First Row, from left: Don Hatcher (mgr.), Gordon Bainbridge, Gaylord Hansen, Dick Krivolavek, Dick Fielder, Bill Olson, Steve Hansen, George Billington, Howard Miller (mgr.)
Second Row, from left: Gale Randel (asst. coach), Jacque Evans (asst. coach), Max Noel, Jerry Sheffield, Bob Wagner, Jim Little, Ed Richards, Roger Myers, Loren Westover, Joe Ellington, Jacque Dubois, John Gericke (mgr.), Coach Jerry Lee
Third Row, from left: Richard Brooks, Gerald Meier, Carroll Lucht, Jim Kahrhoff, Jack Juel, Steve Lockwood, Alan Ewaldt, Dick Peterson, Bob Linden, Lonnie Williams, Larry Willis
William "Wild Bill" Callahan
A bruising fullback for legendary coach Roy Mandery. William “Wild Bill” Callahan earned All State honors for the Islanders in both 1933 and 1934. After his stellar career for the Islanders, Bill went on to earn varsity letters in 1936, 1937, and 1938 for the University of Nebraska and then was selected in the 9th round in the 1939 NFL draft. Bill played 6 seasons in the NFL for the Detroit Lions as a fullback.
A true bruiser and workhorse at the fullback position, Stan Farrer goes down as one if the toughest backs in Islander history. Farrer was a rare three year starter for the Islanders and was an Islander team captain in 1961. The All-Stater led the 1961 Islanders to a 6-2-1 record and a #9 ranking in the Omaha World Herald. Stan’s career best game was 193 yard, three touchdown gem in a win against North Platte in 1961. Stan played in the 1962 Nebraska Shrine Bowl and went onto earn a football scholarship at Nebraska. At Nebraska Farrer’s was cut short by injury.
One of the great Islander’s offensive lineman of all time, Jake Gdowski was a three year starter for the Islanders from 2004-2006. Jake earned All Heartland Conference in 2006 and was a two time All State selection in both 2005 and 2006. Jake was selected as The Grand Island Independent Player of the year in 2006, and was selected to play in the Nebraska 2007 Shrine Bowl. Following an outstanding high school career, Jake earned a Football scholarship from Colorado State University where he started 28 games over three years at offensive guard for The Rams. Jake is only one of two players in CSU history to be elected team captain as both a junior and a senior. A three sport standout for the Islanders, Jake was a four year starter in basketball, and a three year letterman and state medalist in the discus. At CSU he distinguished himself as a standout student-athlete, earning Academic All Mountain West Conference honors in both 2010 and 2011. He was also recognized as CSU’s top performing graduating senior for his excellence on the field and in the classroom. Jake also received the Waterpik Excellence in Education Award.
Kevin Trosper was a standout for Islanders Hall of Fame Coach Ken Fischer in the early ‘80’s. Kevin rushed for 1,115 yards for the Islanders in 1983, earning All-State honors from the Omaha World Herald and Lincoln Journal Star. Kevin helped lead the Islanders to Top 10 rankings in 1982 and 1983. He was selected to play in the 1984 Nebraska Shrine Bowl where he earned Offensive MVP honors for the victorious North squad. Kevin went on to a stellar career as a running back for Kearney State College, where he played for Islander’s Hall of Fame Coach Claire Boroff. Kevin was a three-year starter as a Lopers’s running back and earned Academic All American honors in 1987.
A three year letter winner in both basketball and track, and an outstanding lead-off hitter and outfielder for Grand Island’s Legion baseball teams, Kevin was a standout all around athlete. Kevin has continued his tremendous legacy at Grand Island Senior High, by serving for 12 years as the pitching Coach for the Islanders Softball team.
An outstanding defensive and offensive lineman on Coach Ken Fischer’s outstanding teams of the early ‘90’s, Matt Vrzal earned All-State honors in 1991. He also earned Honorable Mention All American honors in USA Today and capped off a great high school career by being selected to play in the 1992 Nebraska Shrine Bowl. Following his standout Senior season, Vrzal was offered scholarships by a number of Division I schools, but decided to walk on at The University of Nebraska. His decision paid off handsomely. Vrzal earned three Varsity letters, (1994, 1995, and 1996) as a Husker offensive lineman. Vrzal played on some of the best football teams in college football history and was an integral part of the three Big 8 Championship teams and two National Championship teams in 1994 and 1995.
Continuing the tradition of outstanding Islander linebackers, John Wemhoff was a punishing linebacker for Coach Ken Fischer’s 1987 and 1988 teams. John was a two year starter and three year letter winner. John earned many accolades during his career including All-City and All-State honors in both 1987 and 1988 making him a rare two-time Islander All-Stater. As a Junior two-way starter, at both linebacker and fullback, John helped lead the Islanders to the state championship game and a runner up finish in 1987. Following his distinguished Senior campaign, John was selected to play in the Nebraska 1989 Shrine Bowl. John set a Shrine Bowl record for tackles, with 16, and was selected defensive MVP of the game. John was also an accomplished track athlete, recording a career best discus throw of 163’7”. John earned a football scholarship to North Dakota State University where he played one year for the Bison’s.
Coach Einer Toft enjoyed a career as the longtime assistant offensive and defensive line coach for legendary coaches, Roy Mandrey and Jerry Lee. Coach Toft started his coaching career at Grand Island Senior High in 1931 and was a fixture on the coaching staff until 1959. A true “legend in his own time,” Coach Toft was known for his signature saying, “Let’s Go!” When urging on his Islander linemen. Coach Toft coached on the 1936, 1947, 1948, and 1953 State Championship teams and guided a number of all-time Islander greats.
A fixture on the Islander sideline for 33 years. Dick Stalker served as the long time statistician for Islander Football. Duck kept stats for Islander Coaches, Ken Fischer, John Farrand, Greg Uhrmacher, and Mark Fritch. Dick lived for Friday nights, and Islander Football and took extreme pride in the accuracy of his stats. Dick creates numerous gadgets and methods to record statistics accurately in any kind of weather and was never deterred, even by the cold, wet, and wind. He was proud to serve all of the players and coaches he worked with throughout the years and cherished the relationships that he developed with all of them.