Massabesic High will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Class A football championship at halftime Friday night while also remembering Joey Olszewski, a key member of that team who died this month.

The Mustangs are playing Marshwood. Besides halftime, the team planned a weekend of activities, starting with the former and current players getting together for a pregame meal.

In 2000, Massabesic, coached by John Morin, won the state title with a 26-21 victory against Bangor at Fitzpatrick Stadium. The Mustangs were a senior-laden team with some talented juniors. Quarterback Jason O’Tash won the Fitzpatrick Trophy and went on to play basketball at Springfield College, where he was captain his senior year. O’Tash runs a fitness center in New Haven, Conn.

Steve Bridges, a center-defensive end, won the Chet Bulger Award as the top lineman in the state. Olszewski was a starting fullback, linebacker and returner, who was named all-conference and all-state. Olszewski worked for a company in California as director of VIP relations when he died from complications of pneumonia and respiratory distress syndrome. He was 28.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks with what we have planned,” said Morin, still the coach. “Joey’s memorial service was Monday. It was certainly a joy to see the guys over the weekend in not the greatest of circumstances. The players rallied for the family just like they rallied for each other 10 years ago. The halftime ceremonies will be a recognition of the team as well as a tribute to Joe. He was a huge part of our success. We want to make sure we are celebrating his part in it all. His family will be there.”

Other activities include a reception after the game, a golf tournament on Saturday and dinner that night.

Morin said the response from the 2000 team has been great. Besides those who live in the area, there are former players traveling from the other New England states, the West Coast, the mid-Atlantic states and one from Texas.

Coaches still with the team are Joe Bush, Andy Soldati and Kevin Poulin. Former assistant coach Mike Campbell was instrumental in putting the celebration together.

The Mustangs will honor Olszewski’s memory by wearing a black decal “Joey O, 32” on their helmets. Thirty-two was his number.

THE FOOTBALL weekend gets off to an early start tonight with five games. Headlining the list is Bonny Eagle at Deering, who are both unbeaten. Other games tonight are Westbrook at Portland, Sanford at Scarborough, Biddeford at Kennebunk and Traip Academy at Yarmouth.

The Bonny Eagle-Deering meetings have been important for most of the last six years. The Scots have had the upper hand in most of those meetings.

On Friday night, Cheverus travels to South Portland in a game between 2-0 teams. The Stags have the stingiest defense in Western Class A, allowing only six points. Thornton Academy is next-best with a yield of seven points. The Golden Trojans have scored the most points at 102. Bonny Eagle is next with 91.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

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