BIDDEFORD – When Jordan Whitney first got together with his East teammates to prepare for the annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic, he had some doubts.
“I didn’t know what offense we were going to run,” he said. “I didn’t know many people. But by the end of the week we worked out the offense and I made some great friends.”
And when the 24th annual edition of Maine’s senior all-star football game ended, everyone knew who Jordan Whitney was.
All he did was throw for 311 yards and two touchdowns to lead the East to a 25-13 victory over the West in the stifling heat Saturday at Waterhouse Field.
Whitney, who led Mt. Blue to the Class B state title last fall, displayed a strong arm, continually throwing over the West defense to hit wide receivers down the field.
His first touchdown pass covered 60 yards, to Chandler Shostak of Cony; his second went for 39 yards to Ryan Rebar of Foxcroft Academy. For his efforts, Whitney, who will next play at Plymouth (N.H.) State, was named the MVP of the East team.
“He knows how to throw the deep ball,” said West linebacker Bob Begin of Thornton Academy in Saco.
His performance was typical of many players in these all-star games. As Begin said, “Coming in, you don’t know exactly how good some of these players are.”
Well, they’re all pretty good. And the players and cheerleaders made the game a success even before playing the game, as they raised nearly $95,000 for the Shrine hospitals — about $10,000 more than was raised for last year’s game, according to Rick Hersom, the president of the Lobster Bowl.
That didn’t surprised Steve Stinson, the head coach of the West team.
“This was a tremendous experience,” he said. “This was a great group of kids, they’re all going to go on to great things in their lives. They worked their tails off and were beaten by a great East team.”
This was only the seventh victory by the East in the history of the series. The West had won the last two games.
The game was scoreless after one quarter before the East started to take control. First Whitney threw his first touchdown pass to Shostak to give the East the early lead. It appeared as if those two had played with each other forever as they connected on four completions for 152 yards.
The West tied the game at 7 on a 4-yard run by Sanford’s Alex Shain, who rushed for 130 yards, with just 44 seconds left in the first half.
But Whitney hurried the East downfield and Gardiner’s Dennis Meehan kicked a 30-yard field goal on the final play of the half for a 10-7 East lead.
It quickly became 12-7 on a safety on the West’s first series of the third quarter, Dexter Turner tackling Jacob Desrocher in the end zone.
The West responded with Shain breaking loose on a 75-yard touchdown run — the longest in Lobster Bowl history — with 5:06 left in the third to make it 13-12.
But then the West started making turnovers — it lost three fumbles in the final 20 minutes. The first led to the go-ahead touchdown pass, a beautiful 39-yard lob to Rebar streaking down the right sideline that made it 18-13.
It stayed that way until Chad Luker, another member of Mt. Blue’s championship team, powered into the end zone for an 8-yard run with 4:21 remaining.
That was set up by a pin-point 28-yard deep-out completion from Whitney to Shostak on a third-and-10 play.
“We knew they were going to do that coming in,” said Stinson. “That corner ball, sometimes you just have to take your hat off and say checkmate.”
Still, as Cheverus running back Donald Goodrich said, even a loss couldn’t dampen this experience for the West.
“It was absolutely unbelievable,” he said. “It was an honor to be able to line up with the greatest players in the state and to help raise that money. I feel blessed to have been able to play in this game and help the kids in the hospitals like we did.”
Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: