The central Maine town of Oakland is pulling together after a freak hay ride accident at Pumpkin Land in Mechanic Falls took the life of a Messalonskee High School student and seriously injured another.
On the soccer field Tuesday, the visiting Bangor Rams greeted the lady Eagles with hugs and roses in memory of Cassidy Charette, 17.
"They just didn't come any better," said Eagles' Coach Penny Stansfield. "She always had that smile. She was so positive.”
On the sidelines, Messalonskee students wore blue, Charette's favorite color, and many athletes were jerseys with Charette's number "11."
Before the game began the entire school sang the high school song to support the Eagles as they took the field.
Charette died after the jeep pulling the flatbed trailer they were riding on had a mechanical malfunction and crashed into a stand of trees, throwing all 22 riders off the vehicle.
Charette's teammates remembered their friend as a center midfielder, a gifted player and an even better person.
"She was a great player who could always read the field," said teammate Molly-Ann Killingbeck.
"She was always laughing, just really easy to get along with," said teammate Taylor Lenentine.
Adding to the grief at this close-knit school is concern for Conner Garland, 16, Charette's boyfriend, who broke his back in the accident and is now recovering at Boston Children's Hospital.
"Our best wishes and our hearts go out to his family," said Killingbeck.
The team said they would rely on each other to get through the remainder of the season, and try to channel the positive energy Charette always brought the field.
"I know she would want us to play," said Coach Stansfield. "She loved the game, just loved it so much."
The team planned to attend a candlelight vigil on Tuesday night at Mt. Marici academy in Waterville, where Charette attended elementary and middle school.
The Charette family released the following statement Friday, thanking the public for their privacy:
"We are overwhelmed and grateful by the outpouring of support in this community and beyond, for our family and friends and all of those who loved our Cassidy. It is atestament of her incredible life, and the impact she had on so many in just 17 short y ears. While she would be dismissive and embarrassed of all the attention, we are finding great comfort in how people have come together to celebrate her. She was everyone's daughter, sister and friend. There are no words to describe our loss.
"Our family is so pleased that Connor could be with us today. We have stayed in close contact with his family, and our son Colby spent time with him in Boston. We are eternally grateful to this extraordinary young man.
"We ask everyone for their prayers and support of Colby, and our family, Cassidy's many young friends and all who are grieving and trying to find ways to heal. Our hope is that her life will help others live theirs to the fullest."
Charette's memorial service is being planned for Saturday.