There’s “Dancing With the Stars,” then there’s getting your swerve on with an entire high school cheerleading squad.
NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice is one of the fortunate few who can count himself a member of both fraternities after his appearance at the Alcoa/Maryville football game last Saturday night at Alcoa’s Goddard Field.
Attending the contest as a representative of Kellogg’s, one of the Rivalry event sponsors, Rice worked the crowd prior to game, including a visit to the Maryville sideline. There, the greatest wide receiver in NFL history showed off his salsa moves to the Maryville High cheerleaders.
“No,” said Rice instructing one particular Lady Rebel. “You’ve got to work it.”
The size of the crowd at the game was “unbelievable,” the former San Francisco 49ers great said.
“Just look at it!,” he said. “They opened the gates two hours ago.”
Rice visited both locker rooms before the game and talked to the teams. He signed footballs for the winners of the United Way Champions “Go Big or Go Home” Tailgate Party, which was a fundraiser for United Way.
Prior to the game, Rice and the captains of the two teams met with officials at midfield for the coin toss. There was a slight snafu when the coin bounced off the helmet of Maryville captain Brandon Guy and rolled down inside his jersey. As officials searched the ground for the coin, Guy wiggled his shoulders and back until it fell out.
“He flipped it, and it hit on the top of my helmet and went down the back of my shirt,” Guy said. “I didn’t know what to think. I’m very honored that it was me.”
The Rebels would go on to win, 26-19, ending a two-year losing streak to the Tornadoes. Rice said he’s seen countless high school games during his travels, “but not many of this magnitude.”