FREEPORT – East meets West on Saturday as the 23rd annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl kicks off at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford.

Among the recently graduated football players taking the field will be former Freeport star Morgan Kuntz, a 6-foot-2-inch, 230-pound force who will play on the offensive line for the West all-stars.

Kuntz helped lead Freeport to a 5-4 record in just their third year as a varsity sport at the Class C level. Kuntz has been making a name for himself as a college prospect for his ability to break the offensive line and terrify opposing running backs and quarterbacks.

The game, which features teams with players from across the state, donates 100 percent of the net proceeds from the game to the 22 Shrine Hospitals in North America. Participants in the game, including players and cheerleaders, are expected to raise money for the Shriners Hospitals. For the first time, participants were also able to collect online donations from their own personal Lobster Bowl web page.

The players nominated to play in the game are seniors who have recently graduated from their respective high schools. East and West teams, which arrived at the Lobster Bowl camp at Hebron Academy on Sunday for a week of practice, are made up of former rivals who will compete together in the hopes of proving their region as the powerhouse.

“I think everybody wants to go out with a win,” said Westbrook’s Terry Webber, a linebacker for the West. “Plus, you want the bragging rights of beating the East.”

While the bragging rights remain the ultimate prize, the building of team chemistry may be a close second. Building a team of players from the same school is tricky enough with an eclectic mix of high school personalities. To bring players together who have been competing against each other for the past four years is an entirely different story. Webber, however, plans to let bygones be bygones.

“I think now that we are on the same team those old rivalries will be forgotten, so that we can come together as a team and beat the East,” he said.

Scarborough’s Scott Thibeault, who will play at running back for the West, shares Webber’s opinion that the chance for regional superiority will outweigh the potential awkwardness of working with past foes.

“I think at first it might be a little strange playing with kids I have fought so hard against in high school,” said Thibeault. “In the end, we are all their for our similar skill level and competitiveness, so I think it should work out.”

One thing is for sure, Thibeault – despite having mixed feelings about playing a final game without his Scarborough teammates – is preparing like he would any other.

“There is definitely a sense of urgency when it comes to the Lobster Bowl,” said Thibeault. “I am preparing for it like any other game, maybe even harder. It is impossible for me to play in a game without a sense of urgency.”

Perhaps it is this work ethic that has Webber feeling a sense of confidence heading into Saturday’s game.

“Of course I feel the West has better players with more competition,” he said. “But it’s a good matchup every year.”

Joining Webber and Thibeault will be an abundance of local talent. Notable athletes include: Thornton Academy’s Luke Libby, Cape Elizabeth’s Andrew Lavallee, South Portland’s Logan Gaddar, Biddeford’s Andrew Descoteaux, Old Orchard Beach’s Jason Regis, Sanford’s Jonathan Schroder and Massabesic’s Sam Chaves.

Leading the charge in representatives are the Bonny Eagle Scots, who will be sending Matt Burnell, Cameron Cooper and Curtis LaBelle.

The 2012 Lobster Bowl West team includes Freeport’s Morgan Kuntz, who is wearing No. 70 for Saturday’s game. (Courtesy photo)