Grand Island Senior High School’s post-World War II athletic surge produced state championships in both football and basketball in the 1947-48 school year, with the junior class that year being able to boast that their teams won two football championships and two basketball championships while they were in school.
The basketball titles came in 1947 and again in 1948. Football titles came in 1947 (although the mythical state championship had to be shared with Creighton Prep) and again in 1948 when they were unanimously No. 1.
The 1947-48 teams had great coaches in football’s Jerry Lee and basketball’s Aubrey Givens. The football star was Bobby Reynolds and the basketball stalwart was Dale Toft. But they were not one-man teams.
Memorial Stadium was a buzz word for the 1947 football team. They opened the season with the first game in Grand Island’s new high school stadium, called Memorial Stadium, and then played in Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium late in the year, defeating Lincoln High by 25-14 before a crowd some estimated close to 20,000.
The basketball team built a Class A state record winning streak during its 1947-48 school year only to have the streak ended by Hastings in the district finals. In those day, the district champion and runner-ujp advanced to the state tournament so the Islanders moved on to Lincoln.
Once in Lincoln, Grand Island won two easy games and then defeated Lincoln Northeast in the championship game by 50-24. The basketball team’s season record was 22-1. The football team finished 9-0 with its Big Ten Conference playoff win over North Platte.
Basketball Coach Aubrey Givens
Football Coach Jerry Lee