HEBRON — No one has to tell Kyle Bishop what it means to play in the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl. The former Waterville High athlete has been attending the game and its practices for as long as he can remember.

His father, Brad, a varsity head coach in Maine for the last 21 falls, has been on the staff of 13 previous Lobster Bowls. His older brother, Cam, played three years ago and is now a junior wide receiver at Bowdoin College.

Kyle Bishop, a defensive back, has been there just about every summer.

“It means a lot to be here,” said Kyle Bishop. “I remember growing up coming here all the time, staying with dad for the week, and I’d be at all the practices and games. I’ve always wanted to play in it and it’s great to see it’s come to reality.

“I got to see my brother play in it; this is special.”

Made even more special because his father, Brad, is joining him on the East team. Brad, who previously coached at Morse, Lawrence and Livermore Falls, is an assistant, helping with the offense. Kyle is playing on the defense.

“I’ve never been in a football situation with him before,” said Brad Bishop, who will be an assistant coach at Mt. Blue this fall (Livermore Falls combined with longtime rival Jay and Bishop didn’t get the head coach position). “And even though he’s working with the defense and I’m with the offense, it’s fun to be around him.

“It’s very rewarding for us as a family.”

The 22nd annual Maine Shrine Lobster Game, an all-star event for the state’s graduated seniors, will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford.

Proceeds from the game will go to the Shriners Children Hospitals and Shriners Burns Institutes.

For players and coaches, it’s another opportunity to play on a large stage — West Coach Jim Aylward of Mountain Valley compared it to preparing for a state championship game — while also raising funds for a significant charity.

Those families who have more than one member involved seem doubly blessed.

In addition to the Bishops, Jonathan Higgins of Greely is joined by his father, Dave, an assistant with the West.

While Bishop never coached his two sons in high school – he was at one school, his sons at another – Dave Higgins coached his son the last two years for the Rangers.

“It is very special for me,” said Dave Higgins, who has coached Greely the last two falls. “It was one of those things where, before I volunteered to coach, I asked him if it was OK if I coached. And he was kind enough to say OK.”

Unlike the Bishops – where dad helps the offense while son plays on defense – the Higgins are bonded at linebacker. Dad coaches them, son is one.

“We have a good relationship,” said Jonathan Higgins, who will play at Bridgton Academy in a post-grad year next fall. “When we’re on the field, we’re very professional. We try to keep our home life out of it.

“We try to keep out of each other’s hair.”

That’s not always easy. But Dave Higgins said the practices are more laid-back than they would be if preparing for a real game. “I’m sure come Saturday I’ll be yelling at him just like any other game,” he said. “Just like any other coach,” said his son.

Older brother Chris, now a sophomore tight end at New Haven, also played in this game a couple of years ago, but this is Dave Higgins’ first time coaching. Like Jonathan, he’s trying to take it all in.

“It’s a great experience,” he said. “It’s nice to look at the quality of players you have. It’s a fun thing.”

There are other players here who have had relatives play in previous Lobster Bowls. Linebacker Zach Simmons of Lake Region had two uncles play in the past. He spoke to one, Caleb George of Bonny Eagle, and was told he was not only representing himself, but his school and entire region.

Bangor quarterback Joe Seccareccia is following his older brother, Rob, now an offensive lineman at Southern Connecticut, where Joe will join him in the fall.

He knows what it means to be involved.

“It’s a great game, great atmosphere, great coaches,” he said. “I know I feel blessed to be here.”


Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH