Matt was a standout football player for the powerful Orchard teams of the mid 1990’s. From 1993 to 1996, he became one of the all-time great players in school history while also taking the Orioles to a Class D-1 State Runner-Up finish in 1995. After leading his team in rushing during his junior and senior seasons, Matt was honored as the Class D-1 Offensive Player of the Year and was also named 1st Team All Conference and 1st Team All-State on 2 occasions. He set school rushing records along the way, including career yards (4,500) and touchdowns (90). He was selected to the 1997 Eight-Man All Star Game and was also chosen to play in the Nebraska Shrine Bowl that same year. After High School, Matt walked-on the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where he played for five years and was a part of the dominant 1997 National Championship Cornhusker team. The NEMFCA is honored to welcome him into the Eight Man Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019.


It would certainly be a valid claim to say the 1990s Eight Man football era may have been the best ever to that point in time, or any era for that matter. So many remarkable football players to grace the small town gridirons and one of the best was without a doubt, Orchard’s Matt Ickes.

Playing the Quarterback position for the Orioles, the 175 pound Ickes was one of the top running 8-Man football QBs in the 90s, especially in 1995 when he led his team to the D-1 championship game.

Orchard swept through the playoffs that year, knocking off #1 Mullen 46-20 in the Class D-1 semifinals. Ickes was golden during that playoff run, rushing for over 750 yards and 10 TDs and throwing for 4 more.

Matt Ickes and the Orchard boys came with 5 points of stopping the famous Dodge Championship run, but suffered that heartbreaking 30-25 loss to Cory Eikmeier and the Pirates in ‘95. Ickes did everything he could that day, by running for 178 yards and a pair of scores in a defeat that saw Orchard leading the mighty Dodge 17-14 at halftime.

That was a marvelous Orchard team in 1995 with Matt Schwager, whose 62 ground yards in that D-1 final, made him the Orioles second 1000 yarder of the season. Nick Hess, Aaron Sorenson and Justin Bryant, also Ickes favorite passing target, led the defense along with Matt himself.

1,800 yards rushing (37 TDs), over 500 yard passing, over 115 tackles and 8 interceptions…..not a bad Junior season for Matt Ickes.

The Orioles sensation was a repeat D-1 All-State selection his senior season but made the Dream Team at the RB position alongside Cory Eikmeier. That kind of sums up Mr Ickes and his vast talents.

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