GRAND ISLAND - Grand Island Senior High is entering the 15th year of the Jeff Tomlin era.
The Islanders have been a frequent participant in the postseason under his leadership, missing the playoffs just once since 2003. An astonishing accomplishment for a Class A team.
"We know with the schedule that we play in our league, that nothing is a given," said Tomlin.
Grand Island is replacing a lot of talent on both sides of the ball in 2017, returning four starters on offense and five on defense.
The Islanders understand every year brings new challenges, and they can't rely on past success, so the upperclassmen are doing their part to bring up the next group of starters.
"We do a lot with our seniors as far as preparing them to be leaders, that it's on their plate now," Tomlin says. "They're the ones carrying the torch and they can let it extinguish or they can make it burn brighter, it's kind of up to them."
Grand Island opens the season at arch rival Kearney. The Bearcats ended the Islanders season last year in the 1st round of the playoffs.