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Hall of Fame
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Class of 2021
One of the most accomplished Islander teams of all time, the 1987 Islanders were one of legendary Coach Ken Fischer’s best-ever squads. Led by Senior High greats such as Craig Geren, Gary Pedersen, Mike Anderson, John Wemhoff and Aaron Semm, the ‘87 squad finished 9-3. Known for their “blue collar” work ethic and toughness, the 1987 team defeated Millard South and Omaha Westside in the playoffs on their way to a State Runner-up finish.
Oscar Bredthauer was a standout tackle for Coaches Jerry Lee and Einer Toft on the 1955 (8-2) and 1956 (7-2) Islander football teams. The 1956 team ended the season ranked #6 in Nebraska. Some of Oscar’s individual highlights included a game saving tackle on an extra point in the closing minutes of a 20-19 victory over Omaha Westside and an incredible game high 18 tackles in a 14-0 victory over Lincoln High. Bredthauer was an All Big Ten Conference selection at tackle and earned All State Honorable Mention Honors in the Lincoln Journal Star following his senior campaign. Oscar lettered two years in football and track and one year in basketball and played on the 1957 State Runner-up team.
Royal & Robert Kahler
The Kahler brothers were Islander standouts in the 1930’s for legendary coach Roy Mandery. The Kahler Brothers’ prowess on the gridiron at Grand Island Senior High helped them both to stellar careers at the University of Nebraska. Both Robert and Royal played at Nebraska from 1938 to 1940 and both played in the 1941 Rose Bowl where they lost to Stanford 21-13.
Younger brother Royal, a 6’2” 226 pound tackle (nicknamed “King Kong”), was drafted by Philadelphia in the fifth round and ended up with the Pittsburgh Steelers via a trade. Curly Lambeau acquired Royal’s rights, and Royal joined brother Bob in Green Bay for the 1942 season before serving in the military. A one-time police officer, Royal Kahler later worked as a senior safety engineer for ammunition plants. Older brother Bob was a track star and a speedy 6’3” 200 pound halfback. At Nebraska, he lettered on the track team and set a national indoor 70-yard low hurdles record with a 7.8 second time. He signed with Curly Lambeau’s Green Bay Packers after the Rose Bowl game in 1941. Bob played for Green Bay from 1942-44 and appeared in 19 games for the Packers as a reserve. After a stint in the Air Force, Bob pursued a career in, coaching. Bob’s coaching career led him from Nebraska to Wayne State and to eventually Northern Illinois University. Bob also coached high school football in Nebraska City and St. Petersburg, Florida.
One of the best all-around athletes in Grand Island Senior High history and certainly one of the most accomplished Islander football players of all time, Gary Pedersen excelled as a running back and defensive back for Coach Ken Fischer in 1986 and 1987. Gary was an exceptional all-around athlete earning 9 varsity letters in football, wrestling, and track. On the gridiron, Gary was prolific garnering All City, All Conference, and All State Honors in 1986 and 1987. Gary is one of the all time leading scorers in school history and was selected for and played in the 1988 Nebraska Shrine Bowl. Gary was also excellent on the
wrestling mat earning a 5th place medal at the state meet in 1987 and was the state champion in 1988 at 189 pounds. Gary was a highly recruited football player and earned a scholarship to Iowa State University where he lettered from 1988-1990. Gary began his Cyclone career at fullback and eventually became a standout linebacker for the Cyclones. Gary was named the KRGI Sportscasters Club Athlete of the Year in 1987-88 as well as the Firstier Bank Outstanding Male Athlete in Grand Island in 1987.
One of greatest backs to ever don an Islander uniform, Scott Siegel was a punishing 6’ 210 lb. tailback. Powered by a 550 lb. squat and 38" vertical jump, Siegel finished his senior campaign of 2002 with 1,629 rushing yards in 10 games, alongside 17 touchdowns. In rushing for 1,629 yards his senior year, Siegel broke a single season record that had previously stood for 49 years. Siegel had four touchdown games against Kearney and Fremont and had an incredible five touchdown effort in a win over Lincoln Southwest. On the way to the record, Siegel had a 261 yard effort vs. North Platte, 208 yards against Columbus and neared the 200 yard mark in several other games. Scott was a two-year starter and a three-year letter winner for the Islanders. Following his stellar senior season, Scott earned First Team All State Honors and was named to the Omaha World Herald’s All Nebraska Football Team. Siegel was also selected for and played in the 2003 Nebraska Shrine Bowl.
Troy Tesmer is one of the greatest linebackers to ever wear the purple and gold. A three year letterman for the Islanders in both football and basketball, Troy was a two way starter at both MLB and TE for the Islanders. Troy led an outstanding Islander Defense in 1995 and earned first team all area honors from the Grand Island Independent as well as First Team All State honors in both the Omaha World Herald and Lincoln Journal Star. Troy capped off a stellar career as an Islander by playing in the 1996 Nebraska Shrine Bowl. Following graduation, Troy went on to star at the University of Nebraska Omaha earning four varsity letters as well as earning First Team All North Central Conference honors in 2000. Troy played on three Maverick North Central Conference Championship teams ( 1996, 1998, & 2000).
A standout offensive and defensive tackle on Coach Ken Fischer’s outstanding teams of the late 70’s, Bill Wheeler was a two way starter for the Islanders in both 1977 and 1978. Bill was a co-captain on the 1978 Class A State Championship team and earned First Team All State honors in both the Omaha World Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star. Bill was also recognized for his academic ability by being named Academic All State in 1978. Bill capped off a great high school career by being selected to play in the 1979 Nebraska Shrine Bowl. Following his Islander football career, Wheeler went on to a stellar career at Wabash College (Indiana) where he was a four year letterman and three-year starter at defensive tackle. Bill served as a tri-captain of his Wabash College team 1982, helping lead them to an undefeated season and a top 5 national ranking. Bill earned both 1st team SID Division III All America and 2nd team CoSIDA Academic All America honors following his outstanding senior season. Wheeler finished his career as Wabash College’s all time sacks leader for a single season and a career. In addition to his outstanding career on the gridiron, Bill was a standout three sport athlete for the Islanders earning state medals in the 180 yd. low hurdles in 1978 and 1979 and was also an accomplished swimmer for the Islander Swim team setting a school record in the 50 yd. freestyle. Bill was inducted into the prestigious Grand Island Senior High Hall of Honor in 2002 and was inducted into the Wabash College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.
An Islander Icon, Tex Harvey left an indelible impact on Grand Island Senior High School athletics as an outstanding coach and as athletic director. Tex served as an assistant football coach from 1967 through 1984. During this span, Tex served head coaches Del Stoltenberg, Orv Qualsett and Ken Fischer. An outstanding offensive line coach, Tex mentored numerous offensive line standouts during his tenure including Islander greats Al Schwieger, Dennis Baker, Mike McElroy, Gunther Baker, Marty Rocca, Bill Wheeler, Harry Grimminger, Chris Rocca, Todd Carpenter, Greg Gaden and Greg Eversoll to name a few. Tex was an assistant on the 1978 State Championship team. Tex also left his mark as Grand Island Senior High’s head basketball coach, and for his final decade in education, Tex served as Islander athletic director. Tex was an integral part of the major athletic upgrades made to Senior High in the late 1990’s. Known for his positive approach, Tex was a master motivator and had the ability to get the most out of his athletes. As a leader, Tex was an inspiration to all who knew him and an example of character, integrity, and faith.
A longtime Islander football public address announcer, Barry Sandstrom got his start in the Islander Press Box as a spotter for Orv Qualsett back in the late 70’s.. Barry took over for Orv as the public address announcer in 1998 and saw many great players and teams from his perch atop Grand Island’s Memorial Stadium. In 2015, Barry retired from Home Federal Bank and from serving as public address announcer at Memorial Stadium. Barry is grateful for his great spotters throughout his years as the voice of memorial stadium. Dr. John and Brett Duff were Barry’s eyes in the sky and helped him make the right calls. Barry was also grateful to Renee Albers, long time Sr. High athletic department office manager, for her help with name pronunciations every Friday morning. Barry’s service to Islander football and to the community of Grand Island has been tremendous.