DOVER-FOXCROFT — Mike Fallon has seen enough Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classics to know defenses are at a distinct disadvantage.

“Three years ago I was the defensive coordinator for the West when Joe Rafferty (of Kennebunk High) was the head coach and you really feel like you’re coaching with handcuffs on,” said Fallon, the football coach at Sanford for 23 years.

“And for offensive coaches it can be a feast.”

Last year the East gorged on a porous West secondary and won 58-52. East MVP Andre Miller of Old Town turned seven catches into 194 yards and four TDs.

So when Fallon accepted the position as head coach of the 2017 West team, he made sure he had talent in the secondary.

In the Lobster Bowl, teams have to play one defensive front and up to three coverage schemes. And those are declared ahead of time. Blitzing is only allowed inside if the offense is inside the opponent’s 10.

“They know what we’re going to do and we know what they’re going to do,” said East Coach Matt Perkins.

The 28th annual Lobster Bowl will be played at 4 p.m. Saturday at Thornton Academy in Saco.

At Tuesday’s media day, held at the teams’ training camp at Foxcroft Academy, West defensive back Finn Zechman of South Portland said it will be up to players like him, Joey Curit of Biddeford and Riley Dempsey of Wells to keep the East from scoring on big pass plays. The East features the twin throwing threat of Garrett McSweeney of Skowhegan and Taylor Heath of Cony, who combined to throw for 3,400 yards and 43 touchdowns last season.

“We’re going to make sure we don’t give up those deep shots because that’s what the East is going to want to take, especially with those two gunslingers they have,” said Zechman, who plans to play at Division III Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

A good pass rush can make the job easier for defensive backs. Kirby Morrell of Bonny Eagle and David Redmond of Westbrook, a Maine Sunday Telegram All-State selection, are solid pass rushers.

“Honestly, the game might be won on the defensive line,” Zechman said. “If we’ve got a line giving the quarterback pressure and getting rid of the ball earlier than he wants to, we’re going to have some DBs that can go and get that.”

Perkins said he also made sure his East squad was stocked with athletic defenders.

“Absolutely, we’re very conscious of the kids we put on that side of the ball and felt very fortunate that there were a lot of great players,” Perkins said.

Nick Archambault of Portland, who had his senior season cut short by a knee injury, is expected to see a lot of time for the East at linebacker, in part because of his superior ability to read, pursue and tackle.

“I’m just going to play on instinct and play the game,” Archambault said.

REUNION OF SORTS

The West coaching staff has been something of a reunion for Fallon, Brian Curit and John Suttie. In 1994 they were each a first-year head coach: Fallon at Sanford, Curit at Biddeford and Suttie at Noble. Within five years each had won a Class A title. Fallon and Curit are still coaching at Sanford and Biddeford, respectively. Suttie, Old Orchard Beach’s superintendent of schools and high school principal, is coaching for the first time in six years. He’s working with the receivers alongside West offensive coordinator Kevin Cooper of Bonny Eagle. Suttie was part of Cooper’s staff at Bonny Eagle for several seasons.

Curit also will coach his son, Joey, one more time.

ROSTER CHANGES

The West offense will be led by quarterbacks Frankie Veino of Sanford and Cam Day of Bonny Eagle. The West has undergone changes. Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Michael Laverriere will be unable to play because of an injured shoulder. He was scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday but is still on the roster.

Also out because of injury are Spruce Mountain defensive end Colin Parker and Austin Roy of Greely.

Late additions to the West roster are Patrick Pearl (DB) and Trey Burnham (DL) of Biddeford, Nick Howard (DL) of Sanford and Deandre Woods (DE) of Wells.

EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS

The Lobster Bowl is a fundraiser for the Kora Shriners. Each player is expected to raise at least $500.

According to Lobster Bowl media director Brian Robbins Jr., this year’s group of players exceeded expectations.

“A typical year, the athletes raise between $80-85,000 and this year we’re over $100,000,” Robbins said. “Now that’s before expenses but still, that’s an extra $20,000. The kids have been great.”

East wide receiver Colby Furrow of Mt. View raised over $11,000, an individual record, according to Robbins.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig