This year’s Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic will be shifting to Thornton Academy in Saco.

A new site for the 28th annual all-star high school football game, set for July 15, had to be secured when Biddeford’s Waterhouse Field was closed last week after the bleachers were deemed unsafe.

Waterhouse Field had hosted the Lobster Bowl since 1992.

“It’s no big deal. We’re just going across the bridge,” said Rick Hersom, the vice president of the board of governors of the Lobster Bowl, which is sponsored by the Kora Shriners.

The move was finalized Wednesday after Hersom and the Lobster Bowl president, Brian Robbins, toured the facility with Thornton Athletic Director Gary Stevens.

“It’s just for one year now but it could be for more after our walk around,” Hersom said. “They’ve got a lot to offer us. They really offered a lot of great support for us.”

Hill Stadium hosted the first Lobster Bowl in 1990, won by the West, 24-12.

The 1991 game was played at the University of Maine. The event shifted to Waterhouse Field in 1992.

Hersom said Waterhouse was a great site because of the close proximity of the crowd to the playing surface.

But Hill Stadium at Thornton Academy offers plenty of safe seating, a high-quality artificial surface, good lighting and much more on-site parking.

The Lobster Bowl raises money for Shrine hospitals. Over $500,000 has been raised in the past 27 years. Each player is asked to raise a minimum of $500.

Hersom said this year’s fundraising is off to a good start. He said some players already have raised over $2,000.

“We’re hoping to have a big year,” Hersom said. “We’re planning on adding a parade and a Walk of Love where the (players) can use that as a fundraiser.”

Last year the East team won, 58-52. The 110 combined points shattered the previous record of 75.

The West has an 18-9 edge in the all-time series but the East has won three of the past four games.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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