Everyone knows Zach Line and Dave Rayner are local legends on the gridiron, but can these Wildcat Hall of Famers coach a ragtag bunch of misfits to glory on the basketball court?
This question will be answered on Saturday, June 4 when these two former Oxford High School sports stars who made it into the National Football League will return to their old stomping grounds to participate in the Wildcat Hoop-La, a celebrity game of hoops.
Proceeds from this fund-raising event will benefit Oxford’s Lone Ranger Parade on Aug. 6 as well as school clubs and organizations.
Line, 26, and Rayner, 33, will square off on the hardwood of the OHS gym from 7-9 p.m.
Coaching the gold team will be Line, a 2008 OHS graduate who’s been playing fullback for the Minnesota Vikings since 2013, while Rayner will be calling the shots for the blue team.
Each team will consist of school district administrators and teachers along with surprise celebrities and community heroes.
“My strategy is to win – that’s all I got,” Line said. “I have my eye on a couple free agents. I can’t give away all my secrets yet.”
“We’re just going to wing it,” said Rayner, a 2001 OHS graduate. “We’re going to pick whoever can shoot the best and give them the ball.”
Rayner played for 10 NFL teams from 2005-11. He’s been a kicker for the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills.
He’s now living in Lake Orion and working in real estate in Shelby Township.
Rayner agreed to take part in the Wildcat Hoop-La because Oxford is “still near and dear to my heart.”
“I’d love to support the community and help them raise as much money as I can,” he said. “Charity’s fun. I’ll never turn down a good charity opportunity.”
Line is excited to “be part of a community get-together.”
“It’s always good to go back to your hometown,” he said. “I don’t get back as much as I would like to anymore. If I have a good reason to go back, I’m going to absolutely jump on it.”
He views the Wildcat Hoop-La as a way to repay the community that helped get him to the NFL.
“Oxford gave me my opportunity to be successful,” Line said.
Rayner has some experience on the hardwood, which might give him an advantage in this game.
He spent three years playing for Oxford’s varsity basketball team and continues to shoot hoops on a weekly basis at a local gym.
Line, on the other hand, has very little basketball experience to fall back on.
“I played in middle school. That was it,” he said. “The players might know more than their coach.”
When asked if he has any predictions about the upcoming game, Rayner replied, “As long as I don’t have to arm wrestle Zach Line, I like our chances.”
But seriously, folks.
“It will be a blast,” Rayner said. “I’m sure it’s going to raise a lot of money and we’re just going to have a good time.”
“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be fun,” he added.
Detroit Pistons mascot Hooper, the Pistons cheerleaders and a DJ will entertain the crowd throughout the Wildcat Hoop-La. The Pistons Extreme Team will also be there to show off their amazing dunking skills at halftime.
Advance tickets for the Wildcat Hoop-La are $8 and can be purchased at the 24th Street Sports Tavern (13 S. Washington St.) in downtown Oxford or by visiting www.ticketracker.com/store/selecteventtickets/91128.
Tickets will be available at the door for $10.
“I’m looking forward to seeing a big crowd,” Line said. “It’s always good when you can get the community together and have some fun.”