It was a red-carpet premiere Thursday night.
Hundreds stepped out to see a documentary about a family whose football roots run deep in the community and whose name is synonymous with state championships.
Part I of MSG Varsity’s first documentary “New Jersey’s Last Patriot” premiered at Clearview Cinemas in the Preakness Mall.
Dozens of Wayne Hills football players, wearing their maroon and white jerseys, coaches, family, and friends attended the screening.
The documentary, the network’s first, chronicled the journey Wayne’s First Family of football has taken together since before Chris Olsen became head coach at Wayne Hills.
The 80-minute film also showcases the recruitment of Kevin Olsen, the Patriots' star quarterback, as he helped his father win a state championship last season.
Part I will premiere Tuesday at 9 p.m. on MSG Varsity. It will be rebroadcast on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and again at 9:30 p.m.
Part II will be filmed throughout this football season, the last for Kevin Olsen and his father at Hills.
“We knew this was going to be a special season and a special story. There are not too many other families like the Olsens. They are almost like the Manning family of New Jersey,” said Steve Levy, a former quarterback for Don Bosco Prep and a football analyst for MSG Varsity.
The film begins with Chris Olsen’s story, how he came to coach at Hills, and how he met his wife Sue, a former state-championship winning softball coach.
“He has that tough way about him, but he is a wonderful family man,” Levy said. “He cares so much about his wife Sue and for his boys. I can really see the love they have for their father too.”
The Olsen football pedigree is chronicled as Christian helped his father succeed at Hills early on, Greg, a nationally ranked tight end who now plays in the NFL, and finally Kevin, who is entering his senior season a top 10 quarterback and trying to help his dad win a ninth state championship.
Christian, Kevin, and Greg told stories of playing their own football games in the house and the fun they had together as brothers with football being the common denominator.
Christian and Greg are interviewed throughout Part I. They achieved great success while playing for their father. Christian went to play quarterback at the University of Virginia. Greg went to play for the University of Miami. Greg now plays for the Carolina Panthers. Chris is a broker in the freight industry in Chicago.
The film shows how the family has grown closer by navigating some dark valleys together.
Olsen thought about quitting football when Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“She said ‘you’re not going to quit, you can’t quit. You can’t quit on the boys, you can’t quit on me,’” Chris said.
Greg used the experience to create Receptions for Research, a non-profit that provides hospitals, doctors, and researchers with the resources to help those affected with various types of cancer.
Sue would return the favor when she would support her husband as he went through what was maybe his most tumultuous time as head coach last season.
Part I shows the family dealing with the controversy involving the weeks long saga and fallout from an incident last fall. Nine Wayne Hills allegedly assaulted two Wayne Valley High School students after a Halloween part.
“It became a joke,” Greg said.
The players were suspended for the Patriots’ state championship game last December. The team won the game without them. Kevin threw the game-winning touchdown with three minutes to go.
“I don’t care who isn’t here, I care about who’s here,” Olsen said in an emotional speech to the players before the game. “And I love each one of you.”
The game seemed to be an example of something Sue mentioned earlier in the film.
“I don’t know if there’s anyone who takes a group of kids, and doesn’t have the opportunity to pick them, and does with them what he does with them,” Sue said of her husband.
At one point Chris thoght about retiring last year, but ultimately decided to come back to coach Kevin for his senior season.
The remainder of Part I focuses one the recruitment process for Kevin.
MSG’s film crew traveled with the nationally ranked signal caller to The University of Miami, Auburn University of South Carolina, and the University of South Carolina.
Footage of Kevin participating in the Elite 11 quarterback is also in the film.
Kevin said he’s had a positive experience making the film.
“It’s been exciting for a company like MSG to do something on the whole football team with the family,” he said. “This is a special night.”
Kevin said that his father has been instrumental in his growth as a football player.
"Without a doubt, I woudln't be where I am without my dad coaching me," he said.