Lewiston poses for a team photo after defeating Deering 3-2 in overtime to capture the Class A boys soccer state championship in Oakland on Nov. 11. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The reigning Class A boys soccer state champions of Lewiston High School are about take an even bigger stage than the recent state final game at Messalonskee High School in Oakland.

The Blue Devils will be honored this Sunday before the New England Patriots game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

They are being recognized for their state championship, but also as members of the Lewiston community after the Oct. 25 mass shooting, which killed 18 people and injured 13. The boys soccer team dedicated their playoff run to those affected, and want Sunday’s game to honor their legacy, as well.

Lewiston coach Dan Gish said he received the invitation, which is for the entire team, in a phone call from the Patriots last week. The game starts at 1 p.m. The Blue Devils will travel by bus to Foxborough early Sunday morning, which is about a three-hour drive. Gish joked that he will have to re-issue the team’s parkas that were collected at the conclusion of the season for their chilly morning commute.

“The New England Patriots reached out to us about recognizing us during the pregame ceremonies,” Gish said. “We’ll travel down by bus and they’ll have a reception for us before the game, we’ll be down on the field watching warm-ups and things like that.”

Gish said the team will also get to ring the Lighthouse Bell at Gillette Stadium.


“I think its on the north end of the end zone, there’s a lighthouse, and not many people have rung the bell, from what I understand,” Gish said. “I know the first one was Tom Brady, obviously. I think its like a 20-story observation tower over the field, and then we’ll be able to ring the bell as a team to get the game going.”

Lewiston boys soccer coach Dan Gish hugs Belmiro Bengue after the Blue Devils won the Class A state championship on Nov. 11 in Oakland. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Gish said he is not sure if the pre-game ceremony will be televised.

Gish said the victims have been heavy on his heart, as well as his team’s, especially around the Thanksgiving holiday. He said that the victims are the people who should be remembered, and that they “deserve the recognition.”

“We’re in awe of how much people poured out their hearts in showing the support for the community and just reaching out when people are hurting. It kind of gives you an uplifting feeling that you’re going to make it through this, and it’s part of the mourning process,” Gish said.

He also said that many people see mass shootings on the national news but think that it’ll never happen in their communities. October’s tragedy has shown him and many in the community how connected they are, whether it was knowing a victim, family or first responder.

“I think my captain (Obed Antonio) said it best, he said, ‘It felt good to help other people (by winning state). We did it not just for us, we did it for them,’” Gish said. “That gets you all choked up when you have a young man like that and you get a team like this.”

Gish added: “We’re very humbled and very appreciative of being able to do this and represent our city. Number one, we’re representing the families, and hopefully it brings a little smile to their face that we did it for them.”

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