Three coaches, and eleven players have been named to the 2022 NEMFCA Eight Man Football Hall of Fame. They will be inducted during ceremonies to be held Saturday, June 18th at Adams Central High School in Hastings, Nebraska.
This year’s inductees include Michael Bayer and Mat Eikmeier from Howells and Tyler Paulsen of Dodge.
The hall of fame is presented by the Nebraska Eight-Man Football Coaches Association. Induction ceremonies will be held at halftime of the 45th annual Sertoma Eight-Man All-Star Game played at Adams Central HS in Hastings. Kickoff for the game will be 6:00 p.m.
Members of the Class of 2022:
Players- Michael Bayer (Howells), Casey Bender (Lindsay Holy Family), Steven Dent (Mullen), Mat Eikmeier (Howells), Dan Fox (North Loup-Scotia), Nate Froeschl (Falls City Sacred Heart), Jim Gilbert (Table Rock), Orion Matthies (Overton), Tyler Paulsen (Dodge), Philip Schroer (Lawrence-Nelson), Larry Vlasin (Madrid).
Coaches- Steve Borer (Brady), Rod Brummels (Clearwater), and Denis Reese (Loomis).
Below are the Hall of Fame profiles for Bayer, Eikmeier and Paulsen, courtesy of the Nebraska Eight Man Football Coaches Association.
Michael Bayer- Howells High School
Michael was one of the most fearsome defenders to ever play for the Bobcats and legendary Coach Mike Speirs. From 2000 to 2003, he roamed the line of scrimmage and terrorized opposing offenses while also playing a pivotal role in the construction of a program that began the 2000’s winning 4 consecutive State Titles.
During his storied prep career, Michael was honored by the Nebraska sports media and coaches on multiple occasions including: being named 1st Team All-District 3 times, 1st Team All-State on 2 occasions, as well as being named the Class D-1 Defensive Player of the Year for 2003.
After graduation, Michael was selected to play in the Nebraska Shrine Bowl and was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player of the 2004 Eight Man All-Star Game. Hall of Famer Bob Jensen of Huskerland Prep Report would also name him to the Class D1 All-Decade Team of the 2000’s.
Michael finished his football career at Midland University, but his proudest moments as a player will always include having the opportunity to play for Coach Speirs and helping develop an attitude and work ethic that were the key building blocks in the decade-long Howells Football Dynasty.
The NEMFCA is honored to welcome him into the Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
Mat Eikmeier- Howells High School
From 2000 to 2003, Mat was a generational player for legendary Coach Mike Speirs. He was only on the losing side of the scoreboard once during the entirety of his high school career (51-1) and in the process, played a major role in 4 consecutive state championships for the Bobcats.
As a player, Mat was honored many times over, including: 3-time 1st Team All-District, 3-time 1st Team All-State, he was selected as the Class D-1 player of the Year twice (2002 and 2003). He was also named both 1st Team Super-State and 1st Team All-Nebraska as a senior.
On the field, Mat finished his career by setting school records in season yards & TD’s by a QB (1,068/23), TD’s in a game (6), and interceptions made on defense (9). In the summer of 2004, Mat was selected to play in the Nebraska Shrine Bowl and was also named the Most Valuable Offensive Player of the Eight Man All-Star Game.
He would later go on to a highly successful college baseball career at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Mat is most proud of the opportunity he had to play with and for all of the talented teammates and coaches that he worked with at Howells H.S. (especially Coach Speirs), and the 11 state football titles that the Eikmeier families of Howells and Dodge accumulated in their cumulative careers.
The NEMFCA is honored to now welcome him into the Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
Tyler Paulsen- Dodge High School
Tyler was a stand-out player in a football program full of stand-outs. Though he had to directly follow in the footsteps of the state’s all-time leading rusher, Tyler very quickly stepped out of that shadow and blazed a Hall of Fame career of his own.
Starting in his Freshman year, he helped lead the Pirates to 3 state championships (1996, 1997, 1999) as he and his teammates built upon the legendary Dodge Football Dynasty of the mid 1990’s. In the process, he compiled over 5,600 career yards rushing and added another 90 TD’s to his resume.
In his prep career, Tyler was named 1 st Team All-Conference on 2 occasions, 1 st Team All-State twice, and was also honored as the Class D-2 Offensive Player of the Year in 1999. He was selected to play in the 2000 Eight Man All Star Game and then went on to play at Midland University from 2001 to 2004.
Among his proudest accomplishments, Tyler cites the opportunity to play with and against some of the best to ever play Nebraska Eight Man Football while competing along Highway 91’s famed Cornhusker Conference. He is considered by many coaches and peers as one of the best running backs in both Dodge High School and Nebraska Eight Man history.
The NEMFCA is honored to now welcome him into the Eight Man Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022.