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Oxford graduate gets shot with Detroit Lions

Dave Rayner, No. 3, and the rest of the Detroit Lions wait to see where the pigskin went. (click for larger version)
November 17, 2010 - Former Oxford High placekicker Dave Rayner's football career has come full circle.

After spending his high school career as a Wildcat, he returns to the gridiron to kick for the hometown Detroit Lions and had a solid debut in the Lions 14-12 loss against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Nov. 14.

Rayner went 2-3 kicking field goals on the day. He replaced the Lions' veteran kicker Jason Hanson, who sprained his knee on Nov. 7, against the New York Jets.

Rayner made field goals of 25 yards in the second quarter and 45 yards in the fourth quarter to score the Lions first six points in the game. He missed from 49 yards on his first attempt in the fourth quarter.

A side note that came out of the Lions game on Sunday was that Rayner became the first Lions kicker, not named Jason Hanson, to attempt and make a field goal for the Lions in the past 19 seasons.

This is his second stint with the Lions. He was signed in August 2008 for preseason duty, but was released before the season got underway.

Wildcat varsity football head coach Bud Rowley is hopeful that this break for Rayner will lead to future success in the National Football League.

"I hope he gets the break that he is looking for because he has worked hard and busted his tail," Rowley said. "I hope he gets the break he has been looking for to catch on with a NFL team."

Rayner recently made an appearance on the practice field for the Wildcats this past season as he stopped by to work with the placekickers.

Rayner, who played for the Wildcats in 1999, made quite an impression on Rowley.

"He was just an awesome kid. He was a fun loving kid and a good young man," Rowley said.

Once he graduated from OHS, he went on to have success as a Michigan State Spartan. Rayner is currently second on the all-time points scored list with 334 (148 point after tries, 62 field goals). He was passed in 2009 by Brett Swenson, who has a career total of 377.

He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2005 draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Since then, he has bounced around the league, playing for Green Bay, Kansas City, San Diego, Miami, Cincinnati and Washington.

For his career, he is 44 of 62 kicking field goals. His best season came in 2006 with Green Bay, when he went 26 of 35 and made all but one of his 32 extra points that season.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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