LEWISTON, Maine — A week after a deadly shooting in Lewiston, Maine, sports stars and celebrities helped hype a football game that was postponed on Friday. Iconic singer James Taylor lent his talents to the occasion, performing the national anthem.
Former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski and actor Will Ferrell recorded videos urging fans in the neighboring cities of Lewiston and Auburn to attend Wednesday night’s high school game at Lewiston’s Dan Roux Field between the host Blue Devils and the Edward Little Red Eddies, the Lewiston Sun Journal reported.
The “Battle of the Bridge” game between the two rivals also caught the attention of New England quarterback Mac Jones and team owner Robert Kraft, who also voiced their support.
Lewiston was rocked on Oct. 25 when a U.S. Army reservist opened fire at a bowling alley and at a restaurant bar in the city, killing 18 people and injuring at least 13 others.
“Hello, folks, it’s Gronk,” Gronkowski said. “I’ve been thinking about everyone in Lewiston, Maine, and I’m sending my love.”
“We all know you guys are rivals and it’s going to be a huge game and I just want to say you guys are amazing sticking together to stay strong through these tough times,” Gronkowski said. “Hope to see some Gronk spike videos. Play ball. Let’s go!”
Ferrell, whose sports movies include “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Blades of Glory” and “Semi-Pro,” also recorded a video for the game that was also posted on X.
“Everyone’s gonna be watching, everyone’s gonna be talking about it,” Ferrell said. “So let’s bring it on. Let’s bring it on like it’s Donkey Kong.”
Jones also sent a video encouraging players from both teams.
“I understand that the Twin Cities are coming together tonight for the ‘Battle of the Bridge,’” Jones said. “Hope everyone has a great game, and my thoughts and prayers are with everybody. Go Pats!”
Kraft also sent a video, noting that “you are already champions.”
“Despite heavy odds, football has always brought communities together,” Kraft said. “Please know that the New England Patriots are all rooting for you and we love you and you have our compassion very, very much.”
The game ended well for Lewiston, which qualified for a playoff spot. The Blue Devils rallied from a 12-0 deficit to defeat Edward Little 34-18.